Hello everyone and welcome along to today’s blog. I wanted to discuss why it is important to think about the type of products we are using/buying and the reasons why they should be Palm oil free. More and more in recent times, companies have been using Palm Oil in their food products as well as cosmetics. Palm oil is added to these products to help them increase their viscosity as well as helping the skin to retain moisture. Trying to be vegan and ethically minded is great, the effects on the planet like the palm oil issue’ isn’t. Instead of using animal fats to help with the viscosity etc, palm oil is now being used as it is much cheaper for companies to buy.
So why not Palm Oil?
If the Palm Oil is sustainably sourced, which some companies are now doing, this is fine. A huge amount of companies are not taking this into consideration, this is causing a huge impact on the rain forests. The rain forests are being cut down to make way for Palm Oil plantations. More than 50% of the products in supermarkets now have Palm Oil in them or it’s derivatives. The Palm Oil demand is continuing to grow at a substantial rate and keeping up with the demand means loosing more of the world natural rain forests. The habitats of specific species are now being endangered as their homes are destroyed. The main rain forests that are affected are, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. On top of this, land is also being stolen from indigenous peoples. Also known as ‘land grabbing’, this is highly associated with human rights abuses and conflict.
OK, so what should we use?
Scientists as well as engineers, have been working hard to try to find a substitute that is sustainable, Eco friendly and vegan. Even the so called ‘Eco Palm Oil’ isn’t as Eco friendly as you may think. Most of this ‘Eco palm oil’ is produced in Columbia and is having exactly the same issues as above. The scientists and engineers are having success in their research! There are teams from the University of Bath and University of York which are developing the palm oil substitute which is grown from a yeast grown using sustainable sourced waste feed stocks. The have discovered that if they change the growth conditions slightly, the yeast can be made to produce a thick oil with nearly identical qualities to palm oil. They believe this can become a direct replacement for the palm oil plantations and have been given a £4.4m grant to find out how to product this new oil on an industrial scale. If this is successful in becoming a direct replacement for palm oil, this would mitigate the environmental issues associated with its production.
We don’t have one now?
There are a good amount of products out their on the market which are Palm Oil free. It is just a case of reading the label before you buy or if you are shopping online for specific items, searching for palm oil free ones will generally work. A huge amount of organic and vegan products are environmentally friendly. For lotions and scrubs alone, their are a lot of natural alternatives. For cosmetics their is beauty without cruelty, natural soaps and loads more. When shopping in supermarkets, check the labels. Peanut butter in particular they are adding Palm oil into their products, again their are options out their which don’t have it in.
That seems quite a timely process though
Adding a few extra minutes onto your shopping is well worth it. If you consider the environmental impacts of what you are buying such as buying glass jars too instead of plastic. Reading labels is something we should all be doing anyway, their are a lot of different chemicals in products that are not great for you. Those extra minutes will help you as well as the environment. Think before you buy. Getting your fruit and veg from a local farmers market etc will save on the use of plastic, a lot of jams and chutneys from the markets are in glass jars too.
I hope you have found this a useful article to consider the environment when purchasing goods. A little though goes a long way, think long term for the generations to come. Until next time all, take it easy and think green 🙂