Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet…but it shouldn’t be. The oil is admittedly very useful and can be found in cosmetics, packaging, food products, detergents, and more. But the harvesting of this oil is destroying essential habitats and contributing to climate change, which goes against everything we stand for here at Plaine Products. Read on to learn more about the effects of palm oil and why all of our products are palm oil-free.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that comes from the palm fruit, which grows on a specific type of tree called the African oil palm. These trees are originally from Africa but were introduced to Indonesia and Malaysia by the Dutch. Now, Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of the global supply.
What is Palm Oil Used For?
Palm Oil has several uses because of its many chemical and physical characteristics. For example, it is resistant to oxidation, so can increase the shelf-life of products. It’s also semi-solid when at room temperature, which is why you’ll find it in a lot of food spreads, like butter. You can even use it to give fried foods a crispy texture due to its stability at high temperatures.
Palm oil is used in many cosmetic and personal care products because of its creamy texture and ability to improve the product’s stability and shelf-life.
Why Is It Bad?
Palm oil is made from palm trees, and the cultivation of those trees requires large swaths of land. Because of this, palm oil continues to be a major driver of deforestation, destroying the habitats of many endangered species like the Orangutan, the Sumatran rhino, and more.
On top of destroying habitats, cutting down these trees also emits carbon dioxide. The trees are grown in carbon rich soil and act as “carbon sinks,” keeping that carbon out of the atmosphere. When the trees are removed, the carbon is released and exacerbates the climate change crisis.
The cultivation of these trees has also been linked to child labor, exploitation, and other human rights abuses.
What Can We Use Instead?
While it is possible to farm palm oil more sustainably, that requires a gargantuan effort between governments, consumers, producers, and global markets. In the meantime, many brands have chosen to use alternative ingredients in their products to avoid the negative effects of palm oil.
At Plaine Products, we do everything we can to ensure we are leaving the smallest footprint possible. When formulating our products, we knew we wanted to keep our ethical ingredients palm oil free. Instead, we use coconut oil. Coconut oil holds many similar characteristics to palm oil and is great for making our products ultra-moisturizing for your skin and hair. The best part? It is far more sustainable to produce coconut oil, making it the obvious choice for our brand.