What's the problem with palm oil?
Palm oil. You may have heard about it in the news, on social media, or just in the ingredients of your favorite nut butter. What the heck is palm oil and what do you need to know about it as a consumer? Here's the quick and dirty (er, Grungy) about palm oil and why I don't currently use it in my bar soaps.
What is palm oil?
Palm oil comes from the fruit of the oil palm. It's grown mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia, and it's and ingredient found in many foods and bath and body products.
Why is palm oil use so widespread?
The oil palm produces more oil per acre than any other type of oil and has a very high shelf and temperature stability. Its properties make it a very versatile oil. You probably use or eat it several times a day without even knowing it.
Why is palm oil typically used in soap?
Palm oil can make soap long lasting, conditioning, lathery, and cleansing. Basically it's really good for your skin and makes a nice, bubbly soap bar.
So what's the problem with palm oil?
Palm oil production is one of the main causes of deforestation in the world. This eliminates the habitat for many endangered species and adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The labor of people, including children, are typically exploited in the growing and harvesting of the palm oil plantations as well.
What can we do to help?
Look for the RSPO certification on products that you buy, but be cautious. RSPO stands for Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil which is an organization working towards a sustainable palm oil industry. Look closely at the RSPO stamp when you see it - sometimes the certified oil will be cut with a non-sustainable palm oil. You can tell how much RSPO certified oil is in the product with a percentage. Make sure it's 100 percent.
What is Grunge Goddess doing to help?
I currently am not using palm oil in my bar soaps and use a limited amount of RSPO certified surfactants in my other bath and body goods. In my bar soaps I use a blend of sustainably sourced coconut, olive, sunflower, shea, and castor oils. Basically I'm keeping our palm use at a minimum, and I research the sources of all my ingredients before using them in our products.
I hope this article makes you feel even better about using Grunge Goddess goodies. Most of all I hope I opened your eyes to what's going on in the palm oil industry and how you can affect it!