by Kicking Your Palm Oil Habit
Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil made from the fruit of the African oil palm tree, which originates in West Africa. However, it can be grown successfully in any humid tropical climate and has taken a strong foothold in Indonesia. Not only is Palm Oil bad for the environment, and a major cause of climate change, but it is also the leading cause of orangutan extinction.
Every year it is estimated that between 1,000 to 5,000 orangutans are killed in Palm Oil concessions. That is a significant portion of the wild orangutan population which is lost-without fail-every single year.
But it's not too late!
This horrific trend can be stopped with a little help from all of us. Your consumer dollars can be the key to help save orangutans from extinction. The palm oil industry only thrives as long as there is a demand for palm oil and consumers keep buying products that contain palm oil. The way that consumers spend their money determines what gets produced and what gets sold.
Working together to eliminate palm oil consumption from our lives, we can weaken the demand for palm oil and stop orangutans from getting killed. It's that simple!
Palm oil is tricky to spot! There are hundreds of chemical names for palm oil derivatives. Here's a few of the names used to disguise palm oil:
- Cetyl palmitate
- Elaeis Guineensis Glyceryl Stearate
- Ethylhexyl Palmitate
- Hydrated Palm Glycerides
- Octyl palmitate
- Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Kernel Olein, Palm Kernel Stearin
- Palmate Sodium Laureth Sulphate
- Palmitate Vitamin A, Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Palmitic Acid
- Palmitoyl Oxostearamide
- Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3
- Palmityl Alcohol
- Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate
- Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye
- Sodium Kernelate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (or Sulfoacetate)
- Stearic Acid, Steareth -2, Steareth -20
70% of the time when the ingredients say "vegetable oil", it's actually palm oil!
If you're not sure, then keep in mind, it's probably palm oil, if...
- saturated fat is more than 40%
- "palm" appears anywhere in the ingredients (as a word or syllable)
- it's a pre-packaged sweet with an unbelievably long shelf-life
- it's a frozen microwave dinner
- it doesn't have another oil clearly listed (sunflower, olive, coconut, canola, etc)
You know what's easier than analyzing the ingredients? Letting an App do it for you.
Scan the barcode with your smartphone and get the answer on the spot!
available for iPhones and Androids
lists products available for purchase in the USA
Overwhelmed with trying to figure it out in the aisle? Us too!
The best way to live a palm oil free life is to do your homework before you go to the store. Instead of watching for what to avoid, go shopping with a list of what's safe.
There are a lot of resources online to help you determine if your favorite products and brands contain palm oil. When all else fails, calling the manufacturer is the best way to get a definitive answer. (And it lets them know that people are paying attention to palm oil!)
Do you know of a Palm Oil Free Product to recommend?
Once enough results are in, we will fact-check and publish a list of three products of each type that we guarantee are Palm Oil Free, so that you will always know what your safe choices are while you're shopping.
Note: We are looking for every-day, affordable products that can be purchased in regular supermarkets and drugstores across the United States. Although specialty boutiques carrying hand-crafted products without palm oil are wonderful, we are looking to create a shopping guide with easy-to-find products!
Calling all Teachers, Students, and School Groups!
The scavenger hunt is a great way to get involved and be an active force for Orangtuan conservation. You can email the OFI Los Angeles office at [email protected]
, for more info about palm oil and other ways to get involved.