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As an animal lover and environmentalist, I am always trying to reduce my impact on the planet’s fragile eco-system by buying environmentally friendly and sustainable products. One cause I am passionate about is the plight of the Orangutans, who are clinging to existence in South-East Asia, where their habitat is being annihilated due to land clearing for palm oil plantations.

For the past few years, I have endeavoured to cut as much palm oil and palm oil derivatives out of my diet as possible. It is relatively recently however, that I discovered the extent to which non-food products (that all of us use every day) contain palm oil derivatives. Not only does 50% of the food on the supermarket shelf contain palm oil — it’s also in toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, moisturiser, soap… the list goes on.

Although many major companies have become members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, only 10% of the palm oil produced at present is truly sustainable. It will take several years to establish enough sustainable plantations to support the world’s increasing demand for it.

Thankfully there are companies out there that are dedicated to protecting the environment, creating alternative products. I’ll keep you updated with any good ones I find!

For more information about palm oil, and for a list of names palm oil is sometimes labeled as, check out this useful site:

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php#OtherNames

Photographs: worldwildlife.org

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