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How to Stop Buying Palm Oil and Help Save the Orangutans

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How to Stop Buying Palm Oil and Help Save the Orangutans

It came to my attention not that long ago (sometimes I’m very behind in these things) that palm oil is one of the world’s largest ongoing environmental disasters and the primary destructive force behind the rapid extinction of the orangutan. The good news is, each and every one of us can help put a stop to it.

In order to plant palm trees that produce oil-rich seeds, virgin rain forest in Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo is clear cut. What remains is burned. This sounds bad at the outset, when you just think about the trees, but much worse when you think about the animals that live there, including orangutans. They are the world’s largest tree-living primate, spending 90 percent of their time in the branches and not on the ground. Their homes are cut down, and they are subsequently killed by hand or by fire. Hundreds of orangutans are slaughtered this way and dozens of babies orphaned each month, leaving us with a bleak 62,000 left in the world. It is estimated that they will be extinct in under 20 years at our current rate of palm oil consumption and planting. The orangutans are the biggest loser in this proposition, but many other animals are also dying from loss of habitat, fire and outright killing, including Sumatran Tigers, Sumatran Rhinos, Pygmy Elephants and Bornean Red Carnivores.

The palm oil industry presents other environmental problems including air pollution, and according to, “This year Indonesia will be included in the Guinness Book of Records as the country which pursues the highest annual rate of deforestation. Currently an area of forest equal to 300 soccer fields is being destroyed every hour in the country.” Three hundred soccer fields every hour is a hard thing for me to get my head around, but it’s enough to make me read my ingredients before I buy.

That’s the sneaky thing about palm oil – we are often unaware it’s in our products, from cosmetics, to food to biofuel. We all heard about the two girl scouts, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, who made news by asking Kellogg Company, the makers of Girl Scout Cookies, to stop using palm oil in its famous brand; and I found several great resources full of information on other products using palm oil:

Other Ingredient Names Used to Describe Palm Oil:

  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (Can also be from coconut)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (can also be from ricinus oil)
  • Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
  • Palmate
  • Palm Oil Kernal
  • Palmitate
  • Palm Oil in Cosmetics
  • Elaeis Guineensis
  • Glyceryl Stearate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Chemicals containing palm oil
  • Steareth -2
  • Steareth -20
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm)
  • Hydrated palm glycerides
  • Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
  • Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (and anything with palmitate at the end) [1]

Next: List of Products with Palm Oil

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Read more: Animal Rights, Conscious Consumer, Environment, Family, Food, Nature & Wildlife, Smart Shopping, Wildlife, , , , , , , , , , ,

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12:07PM PST on Dec 21, 2013

This list is not much use for those in countries other then the US. We have a lot of own brand and other stuff which states that the palm oil is sustainably produced - nothing has been said about that.

4:43AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

Ok, I agree with you absolutely. But you did not say how to stop using it only which products and companies do use it. Most of the products or companies on the list are ones that I turn to in order to avoid eating meat, minmize dairy, avoid companies that experiments on animals. In additon I live outside the US and Europe where access to alternatives is even more difficult to come by. So what now?

2:55AM PST on Dec 3, 2013

Ok, somebody here please write an article about how industry can substitute palm oil by something more sustainable -as otherwise I got to crawl the net and probably get lost there somewhere.
would be nice.
anyways, thx for sharing.

6:57PM PDT on Oct 30, 2013

look at labels

6:47AM PDT on Oct 25, 2013

Please stop palm oil asap

6:46AM PDT on Oct 25, 2013

We need to stop this showing my students so they can show others palm oil is wrong to consume ....please help spread the word...!!!!!

6:29AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

Thanks for sharing--I will be more careful from now on!

8:04AM PDT on Oct 17, 2013

Thanks for all the information, some products I didn't know about. Heartbreaking, we must continue to boycott and apply pressure wherever we can.

1:48AM PDT on Oct 16, 2013

That video was touching. IF everyone was made to watch it's going to impact the situation. I saved the list of products and will begin my personal boycott today!

6:33PM PDT on Oct 15, 2013

Jeaneen A.
6:26AM PDT on Oct 14, 2013
This Holloween there is no candy at my house, fresh fruit instead.

Jeaneen OR anyone else if you really do hand out things for Halloween then I would suggest going onine now because of lack of time for a catalog, to The oriental trading company and you can get something fun and a large quantity for probably less money then the cost of candy.

There is a very long list of products here.It's terrible how much they use Palm Oil in.

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