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Eco Blog 2: Small Changes - Big Difference

Hello, Chiara here again! Hope you all are keeping safe and well. This week I am looking at reducing palm oil consumption, with a link to a brilliant local site run by a Flitwick eco champion!

Flitwick Church has reduced its own palm oil use by switching to Ecover cleaning products for the cleaning of church, done daily for the last 9 months to protect against Covid.

Ecover uses algal oil (a synthetic biology oil) in replacement of palm oil.

So what exactly is palm oil?

Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil derived from the palm fruit. It’s grown largely on the African oil palm tree, and also in Asia, North America, and South America.

What is it used for?

Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil.

Here in the West, however, we use it as an ingredient in food, cosmetics and cleaning products; from margarine, chocolate and oven chips, to toothpaste, make-up and washing detergents. In fact, awareness charity ‘Say no to palm oil ‘claims that palm oil can be found in 40-50% of household products in the West! It is also found in 32 out of 62 top foods in Britain.

Why is it controversial?

Well, unfortunately the palm oil industry isn’t particularly good for the environment; as an area the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared every hour, to make way for its production. Deforestation not only contributes significantly to climate change, but takes away the homes of both wildlife –including orangutans, tigers, sun bears, bearded pigs – and local indigenous people.

Even “sustainable palm oils” do not ban deforestation.

What can I do?

Palm oil is in A LOT of things; chocolate, margarine, shampoo, pizza, cereal, soap, bread, washing power, mascara, shaving foam, biscuits etc. It is difficult to cut out palm oil completely but you can do things to help:

1. Be aware & reduce your consumption: Check labels on what you are buying.

2. Speak up: petitions and support campaigns against deforestation.

3. Support local eco businesses: one of these is Simply Bee Eco. run by Sophie-Louise Luxton.

Sophie is based in Flitwick but can post products anywhere. Her site includes toiletries, make up and cleaning products. She puts together sustainable gift boxes as well. My favourite is the Lavender Garden Exfoliating Body Scrub, it smells beautiful and leaves my skin super smooth. Why not check out her Facebook page: Simply Bee Eco. Or:

I hope you enjoyed reading this week’s eco blog and it inspires you to make better choices for the environment. Small changes can make a big difference! If we all do something it will make a better future for everyone. Have a lovely week! Best wishes, Chiara xx

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