Monday, December 13, 2010

Palm oil & life without shampoo

I've signed several of those postcards at the zoo which call for products using palm oil to be labelled so that we can make informed choices about whether or not we buy them, and thereby hopefully save the habitat of the orang-utan (and no doubt many other creatures that aren't necessarily so cute & endearing).  I've wondered about my consumption though, and what I could do about it.  I say wondered, and that's about it.  It did cause me to look at the back of my shampoo and conditioner bottles and wonder what all those chemical names really meant, but until now I haven't done much else (except stop buying a product which clearly labelled that it had palm oil and was an inferior product to my regular anyway).

Well, I've decided that its probably time to do something about it, and I've found a couple of websites which might be of interest if you want to take things a bit further as well.  The first one is the  Rainforest Action Network, and buried in their site is a list of products containing palm oil.  The site's American though, and I wonder about the list's completeness particularly in the Australian context and in terms of cosmetics.  The next one is Australian (the Palm Oil Action Group) and its shopping guide gives the names given for palm oil, which I found helpful.  What I found was that my shampoo lists Glycol Distearate as being the 4th largest component of the product, behind good old water and two ammonium-sulfate based chemicals, and this is one of the names given to palm oil.

So, where to, and what are the options?  Well I've bought a couple of sauce bottles, and I'm going to try life without shampoo following Melinda's instructions on One Green Generation.  I'm no hippy, and I usually have to wash my hair every day otherwise I start to look like Neil from the Young Ones, so we'll see how it goes, but I figure nothing-ventured nothing-gained for the Orang-utans.

I'll report back in a couple of weeks and let you know how things are going!

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