Rainforests Being Badly Affected by Use of Palm Oil.

In the morning of a cold December day, I awoke from my bed to find it dark. In the bathroom, I washed my hand as well as my teeth and applied some moisturizer to my face. The sun rose and painted my window’s mountains in light pink. Before I got into my kitchen was slathered with the oil of palms on my face, hands and even on my tongue.

I coaxed my sleeping son to take a bath. There it was in his shampoo, soap conditioner, and the lotion I applied to the next day and added more palm oil. He was still asleep, yet my five-year-old was already covered with the substance.

To find out how widespread palm oil was becoming in our daily lives, I decided to keep track of my every interaction with it throughout the day.

The bathroom

Palm oil is the most well-known edible oil, accounting for about a third of all vegetable oils consumed around the globe. Oil palm trees are a very efficient crop. However, they’ve grown amid vast expanses of lush forest. In contrast, their expansion has led to human rights violations, species declines, and even dangerous emissions from carbon dioxide.

You might be thinking, “Wait a second. I’ve never heard of “palm oil” listed as an ingredient in any of my skincare products. It’s likely the case, but it’s in there, however. Palm oil is a component of many other ingredients.

Consider decyl glucoside as an instance, which is included among the other easy-to-read ingredients of the strawberry-scented soap that my family loves. Decyl glucoside can be described as a cleansing agent that is found in many baby products and products for sensitive skin. It is made, in part by decanol, which is a chemical that’s a fatty alcohol, which is typically derived from palm oil.

Lauryl glucoside is a surfactant derived from palm or coconut oil and is an ingredient in the same cleanser for the body. Surfactants aid in mixing the most difficult materials, like water and oil. Surfactants are also used in my toothpaste, along with sodium lauryl sulfur, another ingredient derived from palm oil and utilized to make the toothpaste’s foam.

Our conditioner also contains palm oils in the form of glycerin as well as Cetearyl alcohol, a popular ingredient that helps make conditioners thicker.

Of course, it’s true that just because products contain palm oil doesn’t mean that it’s creating environmental damage. Consider Alaffia, a socially responsible firm that produces our conditioner and body wash. Their Facebook profile explicitly discusses the utilization of palm oil “Our organic West African palm oil is harvested by small-scale farmers from the Maritime region of Togo, which extends from the town of Tsevie up to Kpalime. Oil extraction from the Fair Trade cooperative in Sokode employs the traditional extraction method.” According to Tom’s of Maine, the company that produces its peppermint fluoride toothpaste, all of its ingredients are created using only palm oils that are recognized as being sustainable through the Rainforest Alliance or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Identifying whether the products you use contain palm oils is challenging. Let’s not mention whether they are sustainably procured. I spent the remainder of the day looking at the list of ingredients in the fine print of every product my family used and trying to figure out what chemical compounds were made using palm oil. As it turned out, my face moisturizer from Trader Joe’s could be an oil palm farmer’s wish: Ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl palmitate, ethylhexylglycerin and g Stearate, and many more All of them are made in some way with palm. ( Trader Joe’s product FAQs provide information about their olive and coconut oils; however, they do not mention palm oil. The company isn’t a member or a member of RSPO.)

At the table

It was funny, however, as I continued to monitor my palm oil consumption. I could not have discovered the oil when I entered the kitchen area. There was almond butter in it, which helped spread the almond butter. (Justin’s makes use of certified sustainable palm oil.) Kind bars drizzled with chocolate. Like many energy bars, palm oil provides the chocolate with a smooth texture to coat. (Kind LLC is an affiliate of RSPO.) I purchased a box filled with Nabisco saltine crackers while my husband was sick just a few weeks ago and where the palm oil gives some creamy taste. (Nabisco is a division of Mondelez, scoring 9/10 according to its WWF2016 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard.)

It was that simple. My son, for breakfast, took the plain yoghurt bowl with fresh frozen berries and apples and an egg cooked with olive oil. I have toast (from bakery bread with smaller and less complicated ingredients than the packaged sandwich bread) served with avocado and Marmite. My husband had leftover rice and cooked eggs and spinach. No palm oil in any place.

This is because the majority of items we consumed this morning were fresh foods, such as apples and eggs, avocados, berries–or ones with a short ingredient list. Most food products made with palm oil are not natural food items but processed ones.

“Processed” food generally refers to all the boxes of food items with lengthy ingredient lists that line grocery shelves and adorn fast-food menus. Food journalist Melanie Warner describes food items as “far from the source,” meaning they are a long way from their origins.

The majority of processed foods, according to Warner, Author of Pandora’s Lunchbox The Story of How Processed Foods ruined The American Meal, have “had healthy, naturally occurring things taken away and lots of stuff added to them that in large quantities isn’t good for us–salt, sugar, fat, artificial additives.”

Many processed foods are unhealthy for us, and many are, at the very minimum, not providing much that’s helpful. It is discovered in these products that a lot of the palm oil from food sources is located. Think Oreosand Halloween candy and frozen pizza. If you’re looking to reduce your consumption of oils from palms, there’s a straightforward method to achieve it: eating less processed food. The result will be healthier as a result.

Responsible sources

Some products for your skin do not contain palm oil, like limited-ingredient soaps made of olive oil. But it’s not essential to eliminate the use of palm oil in your daily life. Indeed, a boycott of it can have more detrimental consequences to the environment. Producing the equivalent amount of another vegetable oil, like soybean, in this case, would require more space.

Eliminating support for firms trying to make palm oil production less damaging to the environment will give an advantage in the competition to companies that are focused on making money. Everything else is ignored. Supporting companies shifting away from harmful practices can make the entire sector more eco-friendly.

Since its creation in 2004, numerous people have complained that the RSPO, an industry-based non-profit partnership, does not set the proper standards. Its Malaysian chief executive, Darrel Webber, argues that it’s essential to set up an environment that is large enough that it can accommodate more businesses and, by doing so, educate many of them about the necessity of protecting ecosystems and giving workers fair treatment.

“I would love to drive a Ferrari,” he states, using a beloved metaphor, “and go very fast to be awed by my friends. However, it’s just me and another person since it’s two-seater. It’s the truth I’m required to take on a bus to change my mind. It is necessary to come up with a method to bring everyone on board.”

Numerous non-governmental organizations, including WWF, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, offer guidelines to aid consumers in making informed choices regarding palm oil. It’s all it takes is a bit of time and effort. When you consider it, this is logical for the products you consume or bathe in and to rub your kids’ skin.

Author: Engr. Husnain SultanEnvironmental Engineer. Passionate to spread awareness regarding current and future environmental crisis.An international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation.

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