palm oil: what can we do?

Palm oil, or specifically, the methods used to grow oil palm trees from which palm oil is harvested, is a hot issue. You've probably heard about the issue before - forests slashed and burned, orangutans killed, human rights abused... It's prickly. And unfortunately it's easy to be a link in the chain simply by using toothpaste or bench cleaner or by eating biscuits.

Chew on these facts:

Infographic by Sustainable Table

Huge issue yes? It's not slowing down either. Demand for palm oil is continuing to grow, mostly because it's cheap to produce and highly versatile. What can we do about it?

I've been working on this very challenge through my work at Sustainable Table over the past few weeks. We've developed a pamphlet designed to make it easier for people to do something about this issue. WE can do something, it just takes awareness and a labelling list.

Download the pamphlet below, cut out the guides and keep them in your wallet. 

Use them when you're shopping. Make sure you're not buying into the kind of palm oil that's destroying forests and wildlife.

Download this flyer which include two cut-n-keep guides
 to make shopping for palm-oil free products easier.

And here's a few bonus tips from me:

  1. Keep the food you eat simple and unrefined. Don't buy biscuits in a packet off a supermarket shelf. Make 'em yourself. Here's a really simple biscuit recipe that you can alter to suit your tastes.
  2. DIY potato crisps are easy.
  3. So is DIY chocolate.
  4. Most (if not all) cleaning products are redundant and a waste of money. Here are the 'cleaning products' I use at home.
  5. Most (if not all) personal care and beauty products are redundant and a waste of money. Here's my intro post on that issue.
  6. You can brush your teeth without toothpaste, see here for my post on that. If you prefer toothpaste, Riddells Creek is made in Australia, totes organic and 100% palm oil free. 

I'll be covering more of the palm oil issue on the Sustainable Table blog over the coming weeks. Subscribe to that here.

If you know of great palm-oil free products, please list in the comments below!:


  1. Hi Maria - great post. I have just seen a preview of Rise of the Eco Warrior a documentary that looks at this very issue including rainforest destruction in Borneo. Launching in March 2014 I hope it will make this issue mainstream so that more people make choices that send a message about the use of palm oil.

  2. PS Cole and Woolworths are key palm oil users. Letting them know how you feel about it is one way to encourage them to move to other ingredients in their food and cleaning products.

  3. We have found a particular organic whole foods brand, although it is certified organic, has palm oil in alot of their products. Our children (both teenagers) have boycotted this brand from entering our home because not only has it got palm oil but is goes under the guise of being 'green'.



Flickr Photostream

Twitter Updates

Meet The Author