Driving along a road or flying over a palm oil plantation could give you the impression of a beautiful peaceful island holiday experience. However, our insatiable desire for products has resulted in the destruction of natural habitat to make way for these plantations, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant, and Sumatran rhino and contributing negatively to the climate change we are now experiencing.
Palm oil is commonly found in many household items, including food products, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies.
The good news is that we can make a change to our own habits which can positively impact the demand for palm oil. Avoiding palm oil in your daily products can be challenging but not impossible.
So here are a few tips to help you make a difference..
- Read labels: Always check product labels before purchasing. Look for ingredients such as “palm oil,” “palm kernel oil,” “vegetable oil,” “palmate,” or “sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate” (commonly derived from palm oil) and choose products that do not contain these ingredients.
- Choose alternatives: Look for products that use alternative oils like sunflower, coconut, olive, canola, or soybean oil. Many brands are now offering palm oil-free options, especially in the food and cosmetic industries.
- Cook from scratch: Whenever possible, prepare your meals and snacks from fresh ingredients. This way, you have better control over the ingredients you use, and you can avoid hidden palm oil in processed foods.
- Support certified sustainable products: Some organizations, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), certify sustainable palm oil. While there are concerns with the effectiveness of these certifications, choosing products with the RSPO label might be a better option than conventional palm oil.
- Research brands: Look for brands that are committed to using responsibly sourced palm oil or are completely palm oil-free. Many companies have started to adopt more ethical practices, and you can support these efforts by purchasing from them.
- Educate yourself: Stay informed about the environmental and social issues related to palm oil production. Understanding the impact of palm oil consumption can motivate you to make more sustainable choices.
- Use online resources: There are apps and websites available that can help you identify palm oil-free products and brands. These resources can be valuable when you’re shopping for groceries or other products.
- Share your concerns: Voice your concerns to companies and manufacturers about the use of palm oil in their products. Increased consumer awareness can lead to positive changes in the industry.
- Reduce consumption of processed foods: Processed foods often contain palm oil as a cheap and stable ingredient. Reducing your intake of such foods not only helps you avoid palm oil but also promotes a healthier diet.
- Opt for homemade alternatives: Make your own cosmetics, personal care products, and cleaning supplies using natural ingredients. There are numerous DIY recipes available online that allow you to create effective and palm oil-free products.
Remember that eliminating palm oil entirely may not be practical in every situation, but making conscious choices and reducing your overall consumption can make a positive impact on the environment and support more sustainable practices in the palm oil industry.