10 surprising products that contain palm oil
By now, we’re all well aware that palm oil is bad news. Not only does is it incredibly unsustainable for the future, it’s been linked to major human rights violations and the widespread destruction of rainforests — forcing many animal species like orangutans to the brink of extinction. You can read more about that here.
However, what many people don’t realise is just because they’re not cooking with palm oil, doesn’t mean they’re not using it every single day. Under the current legislation, palm oil doesn’t have to be declared on food labels. It can simply be referred to as ‘vegetable oil’ — although manufacturers do have to declare the amount of saturated fat in the product if they use palm oil. This helps to identify the palm oil in food, but not so much in the many other types of products that contain palm oil.
So, to help you make more sustainable shopping choices, here are 10 surprising places palm oil may be lurking in your home.
Palm oil is often used to make lipstick, as it holds colour well, doesn’t melt at high heat and has a smooth application. It’s also a very common ingredient in moisturisers — although you wouldn’t know it, as it’s usually sneakily labelled as ‘elaeis guineensis’ in makeup!
Unfortunately, it’s harder to find ice cream brands that don’t contain palm oil than those that do. It’s a very popular ingredient in the frozen dessert, as it helps to give it that soft, creamy texture. If you’re craving a sweet treat after dinner, look for ice cream brands with the Peter’s logo, as they are palm oil free.
Unfortunately, palm oil is found in most brands of packaged bread as it allows it to remain soft and therefore, stay on the supermarket shelves for longer.
Ironically, palm oil is often used in some biofuels, as a more ‘sustainable’ alternative to coal. However, if you fuel up at a Caltex you’re in the clear, as they only used sustainably produced biofuels.
5. ‘Healthy’ snack foods
It’s easy to assume that if a snack food (like ‘healthy’ chips, cereal or muesli bars) is labelled organic, it’ll be free from palm oil. However, that isn’t always the case so it’s important to check whether it states ‘vegetable oil’ and if the saturated fat content has been listed — which indicates that it contains palm oil.
6. Shampoo and conditioners
Palm oil is often used in shampoo, as it’s very efficient at removing dirt and oil from the hair. It’s also commonly used in conditioners, as it helps to restore the natural oils stripped away by the shampoo!
Just as palm oil removes dirt and oil from your hair, it does the same for your face and body — making it a common ingredient in soap, body wash and facial cleansing products.
So, you’ve gone vegan to help reduce your environmental impact? Good on you! Just make sure you check the labels on vegan dairy substitutes as sadly, many contain palm oil.
9. Pet food
Turns out, our furry friends may be inadvertently eating palm oil, too! Palm kernel meal is often used in pet food, as it makes a good filler in these products. Unfortunately, not quite so great for the environment!
10. Cleaning products
This is easily one of the most common sources of palm oil in the home, with it being an ingredient in 30-40 % of household cleaning and laundry products. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo washing your clothes or cleaning your home!
All of Aware Environmental’s products are proudly palm oil free, as well as naturally derived, vegan and cruelty-free. You can find out more about our range here.