Articles

How Green Is Your Clean? December 06 2011, 0 Comments

This fantastic article featured in the October edition of Nova magazine written by local Tasmanian writer Natalie Geard. Great information on how to choose a truly green cleaning product.  

NOVA MAGAZINE

HOW GREEN IS YOUR CLEAN?

By Natalie Geard

The choices we make everyday have a profound effect on our lives. What we eat, what we purchase and what we use in our home all have implications and effects.
In today’s environmentally conscious society most of us genuinely want to do our bit for the greater good – our own health and that of the environment.
Importantly, the value of leading healthier and more sustainable lives has become a significant focus for Australians with a momentous
shift towards more natural and environmentally responsible choices and practices.

 One of the major impacts on our living environment is how we clean.

 Cleaning products are used everywhere in your home.  

 We eat, bathe, lie and come into contact with all sorts of surfaces we clean not to mention the air we breathe and the water we drink.

So it makes sense to be informed about what cleaning products you use everyday and the effects on your health and living environment.

 Laundry powders, oven cleaners, surface cleaners, bathroom sprays and detergents. We all use them in efforts to maintain, clean and upkeep our house. But when was the last time you actually looked at what you were using and spraying around your home?

In the past we have thought little of eating straight off surfaces we have wiped with chemicals or washing our clothes with products that have harmful side effects such as skin irritations and omit pollutants into local waterways.

A focus of Australian cleaning culture has been towards achieving white and bright results and we have been inundated with chemical-based cleaning methods and products along the way.

 Thankfully, the array of greener and more environmentally responsible products on the market today has increased dramatically via a number of sources – those seeking to actually be more environmentally responsible through the provision of less harmful products and those looking to benefit from our conscience of buying green.

 The challenge is to be able to differentiate the products that are really better for us and the environment and those that are just claiming to do so.

But this is no easy feat – we are bombarded with messages, slogans and claims to be ‘green’, ‘environmentally friendly or responsible’ and ‘safe’ to influence our purchasing decisions. For the average consumer it can be bamboozling and confusing.

So how can you make smarter environmentally responsible cleaning choices and ensure you really are cleaning green?

 Why clean green?

Why not? Apart from obvious health reasons there are substantial environmental concerns and consequences from using chemical-based cleaners.

Most cleaning products eventually contact the air, water and soil and chemicals can cause significant and irreparable damage to animals, plants, drinking water and food supplies.

The use of chemicals is not necessary when we have natural alternatives available that provide us with efficient cleaning and sanitising qualities we need for a fresh and sparkling clean.

The popularity in the post-war 50s was towards chemicals that delivered the cleaner, whiter and brighter phenomenon – just look at the ads from this era to reflect this movement. Fortunately, the trend is now heading back towards the long-lasting combination of ingredients such as bicarbonate soda, vinegar and essential oils that can deliver the same cleaning performance and qualities as chemical based cleaners without the harmful side effects.

There are also long held perceptions by people that it costs more to buy green.

Green and more natural cleaners are reasonably priced in comparison to chemical-based cleaners available on the market today and in fact, usage shows you actually need less volume of the traditional ingredients to clean due to their stronger cleaning capabilities!

By choosing to clean green you can limit the amount of chemicals spilled into local waterways and reduce the harmful effects to both your health and the environment.

Simple tips to clean green.

Consumers are confronted with all sorts of claims about green cleaning products.

Statements such as ‘natural’, ‘safe’, ‘biodegradable’ and ‘environmentally responsible’ are a few of the more common terms used. But how many cleaning products actually meet these claims?
Adding to the confusion, in Australia there is currently no standard governance or accreditation for ‘environmentally responsible’ manufacturing and production of cleaning products meaning disclosure of ingredient lists and packaging can sometimes deliver misleading information about products on offer.

So what you may think you are using may actually not be that eco-friendly after all!

Here are some simple tips to help you make smarter choices:

1. The important ingredient list

The most accurate way to tell if you are using environmentally friendly products is to read the label and importantly, the ingredient list to ensure the product is in fact what it is claiming to be!

The problem is that most consumers are left confused with ingredients they cannot understand or ingredients that are not familiar with.

Best advice is that the ingredient list should be simple, short and basic meaning no hidden nasties!

The other rule of thumb is - if you don’t know what the ingredient is or if it is not easy to understand there is a fair chance it is not good for you or natural.

It is hard to avoid all chemicals so below we have listed the major offenders:

§       Phosphates – most commonly found in laundry powders and are damaging to our waterways and harmful to marine life.

 §       Sodium laureth sulfate/sodium laurel Sulfate (SLS) – foaming and thickening agent. SLSs alter the skin’s structure allowing other chemicals to penetrate the skin’s barriers increasing the amount of chemicals that reach the bloodstream. It’s also a frequent cause of contact dermatitis.

 §       Triclosan – antibacterial products most commonly have this pesticide which can negatively impact long-term health including reproductive systems.

 §       Palm oil – has many disguises in cleaning products including plant based surfactant (from palm), plant derived cleaning agent (from palm), vegetable glycerin, sodium laureth sulfate, cetearyl alcohol and cetyl palmitate just to name a few. Its use has devastating impacts on the natural environment and habitat of the orangutans in South East Asia.

 2. Broaden your range of choice

Let’s face it – we are a trustworthy bunch when it comes to the products and chemicals we use everyday when often they contain chemicals and toxic substances that are harmful to our health.

It is common practice for chemical-based cleaning products to list ingredients under scientific names and descriptors making it difficult for consumers to easily identify and understand.

The first step towards greener cleaning is to actually start considering purchase alternatives and choices.

Question and evaluate claims made by a range of products rather than instinctively reaching for the one that may look (green marketing at its best) the most environmentally friendly.

We are very much creatures of habit so looking at what is in the household cleaning cupboard is a great place to start. How does this compare to other products on the market and is there a better alternative?
The best mantra to take is to question everything and take time to find out – you may be shocked at what you are contributing to!

 3. Read labels closely

When was the last time you actually read a label properly?

Have a closer look next time and consider what the product is communicating and the wording used to promote it.

If it is natural it should be able to state quite clearly that it has no chemicals, toxins or fillers. It should also be suitable for grey-water use and preferably the packaging should be recyclable.

The latest in green technology has also witnessed the emergence of plant based surfactants and whilst these are a great alternative to petroleum-based cleaners they are not as green as the marketing of these products may suggest.

Furthermore, environmental statements can range from ‘reduced chemicals’ to ‘no chemicals’ (obvious difference) so it will soon be evident which one may be attempting to greenwash your decision!

 4. Be a smarter shopper

Chances are you probably won’t find the best green options in your local major supermarket. Try local specialty stores known for their commitment to more natural choices or shop online to find the products that meet your new stringent criteria.

Aim to buy Australian made and owned. Supporting local producers and manufacturers has a two prong effect – it benefits local businesses and ensures the transportation and additional environmental impacts are kept to a minimum.

The good news for all Australians is that there is a great range of natural and environmentally responsible household cleaners available.

In addition, the more you read and understand the products you use the more empowering your purchase decisions become. 

Whilst we cannot expect to get every choice right, it quickly becomes apparent that within every purchase decision there is a less harmful and more environmentally responsible option that contributes towards a healthier, safer and more socially conscious path.
It is merely about taking the time to consider our purchase decisions for the greater good of ourselves and our planet.


Quick five tips for cleaning green:

 

  1. Examine the ingredient list – educate yourself.
  2. Read labels closely – be aware of product claims
  3. Avoid palm oil
  4. Broaden your range of choice – look beyond current usage
  5. Buy Australian owned and made






DIRTY SECRETS OF COMMON CLEANERS REVEALED November 25 2011, 0 Comments

Expert Opinion Thursday, November 17, 2011
By: Janelle Sorensen, Chief Communications Officer, Healthy Child Healthy World

I remember distinctly the first time I truly read a cleaning product label. I had just started learning about how everyday products are largely unregulated in terms of potential health impacts and I thought, “what’s even in the cleaning products I’m using?” I picked up a bottle of Pledge, flipped it over, and over, and nowhere could I find a simple ingredients list.

 I was dumbfounded.

I mean, it’s one thing for me to erroneously assume that whatever is in a product is safe, but to me it was totally another to be using something that was made from ingredients I couldn’t even identify. Not only that, I quickly found out I didn’t even have a right to know - manufacturers had no obligation to tell me.

Nothing much has changed since then - except I switched to a combination of homemade and certifiably non-toxic cleaners and, many manufacturers are using misleading packaging that makes consumers think they’re using something natural and safe.

 That second point really gets my goat.

Do you know what’s in your cleaners? A new report by Women’s Voices for the Earth, “Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products?” reveals some disturbing facts:

They found hidden toxic chemicals in all products tested. They included carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens.

Tide Free & Gentle, a detergent marketed to and used by moms for infants’ laundry, contained 1,4-dioxane, a known cancer-causing chemical, as did Bounce Free & Sensitive.

Simple Green Naturals also contained 1,4-dioxane as well as phthalates, linked to reproductive harm. Simple Green All-Purpose cleaner contained toluene, linked to pregnancy complications.

Glade Touch Odor contained phthalates, linked to reproductive harm, and galaxolide, linked to hormone disruption.

Clorox Clean-Up contained chloroform and carbon tetrachloride, both linked to cancer.
High levels of allergens appeared in fragranced air fresheners, yet there were no warning labels. Allergens were also found in products marketed as fragrance-free.

None of these chemicals were listed on the product’s label.
Consumers deserve to know what chemicals they are being exposed to, so that they can easily avoid products that may cause allergic reactions or serious long-term health impacts like cancer, birth defects, or pregnancy complications. WVE is calling on Congress to pass new federal legislation that requires cleaning product manufacturers to disclose all the ingredients they use in their products directly on the product label.

The Cleaning Products Right to Know Act will require household cleaning products to bear a label including a full list of product ingredients. This is the first step in pressuring companies to create safer cleaning products. Click-through to ask your legislators to support the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act!

 What You Can Do in the Meantime:

Make your own cleaning products! Until we know what’s in the products we buy off the shelf, we can mix our own with safe ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Here are some great recipes and tips.

If you are concerned about a cleaning product that you currently use (and like), call the company’s toll-free number and inquire about the problem ingredients discussed in this report. Ask the manufacturer to disclose all of their fragrance ingredients and any contaminants, and ask them to remove any phthalates, musks and toxic contaminants from their products.

Find safer cleaning products in Shop Healthy!

Were any of your favorite products on this list? What are your tips for safer cleaning?
Read more: http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/dirty_secrets_of_common_cleaners_revealed/#ixzz1eg8KONMl





Triclosan Trespass October 18 2011, 0 Comments

Janelle Sorensen
Monday, July 28, 2008

The US EPA recently released their latest draft assessment of triclosan, a pesticide approved for use in 140 different types of everyday products. The inconclusive report demonstrates how little we know about triclosan, and refuses to address its potential impacts fetuses and children.

We're used to seeing triclosan in certain products like antibacterial soaps, but it is also found in things you’d never expect, like playing cards and toothpaste. While antibacterials gave parents a great sense of relief when they were first created, over time we have learned some important things:

1. The US FDA has found that antibacterial soaps are not any more effective than regular soap and water.
2. The American Medical Association worries that antibacterials may lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics and recommends that people do not use triclosan in their homes.
3. Triclosan has never been tested for potential health impacts on fetal and child development, but it’s showing up in breast milk and has been found to be extremely toxic to aquatic life.

The US EPA recently released their latest draft assessment of triclosan and, according to a report by the EWG, it is plagued with gaps and inconsistencies and continues to ignore potential impacts on fetuses and children. The EWG outlines the major flaws in the EPA’s draft safety assessment. They are stunningly extensive:

• The EPA did not take into consideration potential risks for fetal and child development.
• As a rule of thumb, our nation’s pesticide law mandates an extra margin of safety for children. The EPA triclosan assessment eliminates the standard ten-fold margin based on the supposition that children do not need extra protection from triclosan.
• The EPA report lacks full assessment of inhalation risks, cumulative risks, and cancer risks, as well as environmental risks.
• There is no examination of triclosan’s more toxic breakdown by-products.
• They neglect to examine risks associated with antimicrobial resistance.

Triclosan persists in the environment, breaks down into highly toxic metabolites, contaminates people’s bodies, and poses health risks we barely understand. Given the risks and its demonstrated ineffectiveness as an antibacterial, the EWG recommends the following actions:

• A ban on triclosan in products used at home, in line with the conclusion of the American Medical Association that common antimicrobials for which resistance has been demonstrated should "be discontinued in consumer products unless data emerge that conclusively show that such resistance has no effect on public health and that such products are effective at preventing infection."
• For remaining non-consumer uses, the EPA must fully assess the safety of triclosan and its breakdown products for the fetus, infant, child, and other vulnerable populations.
• Manufacturers should curtail their use of this toxic, persistent chemical in consumer products, voluntarily in advance of mandatory restrictions.
• Consumers should avoid the use of triclosan-laden products whenever possible by avoiding antibacterial soaps, avoiding personal care products that contain triclosan and triclocarban, and avoiding antibacterials products like toothbrushes, toys, and cutting boards that may be labeled “antibacterial,” "fights germs," "protection against mold," or make claims such as “odor-fighting” or “keeps food fresher, longer.”

Read more about it:
A new study by UC Davis researchers calls into question the widespread use of triclosan (and its cousin triclocarbon) as they found that triclocarban disrupts reproductive hormone activity and triclosan interferes a type of cell signaling that occurs in brain, heart and other cells.
A recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology examined the toxicity of triclosan’s breakdown by-products which include known carcinogens, as well as its persistence in sediment. Some of the samples they took were over 30 year old sediments which still had lingering triclosan.
Upon the closure of the public comment period for the Draft EPA Assessment of triclosan, dozens of public health and environmental groups from the U.S. and Canada urge the EPA to use its authority to cancel the non-medical uses of the antibacterial chemical triclosan, widely found in consumer products and shown to threaten health and the environment.





The Green Thing August 31 2011, 0 Comments

 

The Green Thing - Author unknown

In the line at the supermarket, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to her and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day." The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."

She was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the factory to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. They were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's nappies because they didn't have the throw-away kind.. They dried clothes on a line, not in a 220 volt energy gobbling machine - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of a cricket pitch. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. They didn't have air conditioning or electric stoves with self cleaning ovens. They didn't have battery operated toys, computers, or telephones.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn fuel just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They used hand operated clippers to trim the shrubs. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a glass filled from the tap when they were thirsty instead of using a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people walked or took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

 




The Borneo Project August 18 2011, 0 Comments

About This Calendar

The Rainforests of Asia hide some deadly secrets- Palm Oil & Paper Pulp Production as well as Illegal Logging is destroyingthem. Most people are unaware of the rapid & deadly destruction of theRainforests, the Orangutans and the 3,000 other species of Flora & Fauna only found in these Rainforests.  Most people are unaware that they are contributing to this destruction by purchasing products which contain palm oil,using virgin rainforest timber and by not using recycled paper products. The purpose of this calender was to raise awareness about these issues and to raisefunds to give to The Centre of Orangutan Protection & The Orangutan LandTrust.  Rainforests are important to the global ecosystem as they provide a home to many plants and animals, help stabilize the world's climate, protect against flood, drought, and erosion, area source for medicines and foods and support tribal people.


To purchase this calendar or any other merchandise and support the Borneo Project goto: 

www.withcompassion.com.au    or    www.glennalderson.com


AussI September 28 2010, 0 Comments

 

AUSTRALIAN SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE (AUSSI)

Providing support to school communities to learn to live more sustainably

 

About AuSSI

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) provides practical support to schools and their communities to live and work more sustainably. It fosters a whole school approach with measurable environmental, educational, social and financial benefits.

AuSSI engages students, staff and members of the community to improve the management of a school’s resources and facilities—including energy, waste, water, biodiversity, landscapes, products and materials.

AuSSI also integrates these activities with teaching and learning across the curriculum, including key elements of social sustainability, such as cultural understanding and social justice. By participating in a learning by doing process, students achieve a better understanding of the world in which they live, and have opportunities to help create a more sustainable future.

AuSSI helps to build sustainability knowledge, skills and motivation to take action.

Real Achievements:

Almost 3000 schools (or 30% of schools nationally) across Australia are now participating in AuSSI.

AuSSI schools are achieving immediate and measurable improvements in their use of resources, grounds and facilities. Some participating schools have reported reductions in waste collection of up to 80%, reductions in water consumption of up to 60%, and savings on energy consumption of 20% with associated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Schools are also achieving broader social, well-being and educational benefits from increased school pride and interest in learning. AuSSI helps improve students’ understanding of the complexity of the world in which they live by developing their knowledge, critical thinking skills, values and capacity to participate in decision making about environmental, social and economic development issues.

AuSSI provides a way for students, parents, teachers and the community to be actively involved in sustainable school management.

Make a whole school commitment to becoming more sustainable

Develop goals and an action plan Implement, monitor and evaluate the action plan

Case Studies from AuSSI schools

Engaging in AuSSI can take many and varied forms, reflecting a school’s unique character and culture, and addressing its particular needs.

Below are a few case studies from each state and what they have achieved.

 ACT

A newly installed photovoltaic solar power system forms the basis of learning opportunities across the curriculum and has greatly reduced school power bills; students conduct a water audit resulting in the installation of dual flush toilets and improved irrigation for the school oval.

 NSW

Passive air cooling measures are implemented in the assembly room following student led surveys, energy audits and research, including liaising with an architect and the community; students study an endangered ecological community located within the school grounds, with each year group adopting three different species for observation, thereby building up students’ knowledge of their local environment over time.

 QLD

Students and the community work together to transform school grounds into vegetable and native gardens and an outdoor learning area; a network of schools work together to collect batteries from the community for recycling.

 NT

Students planted a forestry plot, developing links with the wider community, and an arboriculture and sustainability subject is integrated into the curriculum; students maintain a bush food garden, drawing on local Indigenous knowledge; a rubbish free canteen serves food on reusable plates with limited waste and avoids purchasing individually wrapped items.

 WA

Students create a natural water filtration system by planting reeds in the school dam and monitor the health of the dam’s ecosystem; students plant native vegetation to tackle salinity and lower the water table on farm paddocks through partnerships with community groups and council.

 SA

A 2.4 hectare EcoClassroom is maintained by students and used for a variety of purposes, such as flora and fauna data collection, soil monitoring and Indigenous studies; a newly installed water retention pond forms the basis of mathematics lessons and saves the school millions of litres of water annually.

 VIC

An annual Celebrating Sustainability Expo connects students’ sustainability activities to the wider community; students conduct informative tours of the school’s own wetland, dry forest and vegetable garden.

 TAS

Water efficiency is taught through harvesting rainwater for use on drought-tolerant, student-maintained gardens; students re-vegetate a local retirement village with support from local businesses, promoting cooperation within the community.

 

For further information about these AuSSI case studies and how to become an AuSSI school, please visit www.environment.gov.au/education/aussi.

 


Australian climate change impacts September 28 2010, 0 Comments

Australians have one of biggest footprints in the world: WWF

Ongoing water shortages, continued loss of species and the decline of our natural icons are the products of over-consumption in Australia, which ranks in the top ten countries in terms of living unsustainably, says WWF, the global conservation organisation.

A major new international report by WWF has found Australians still have one of the biggest ecological footprints in the world, and that we produce more greenhouse gases per person than most other countries on the planet.

WWF's Living Planet Report 2006, the organisation's biennial statement on the state of the natural world, says on current projections humanity will be using two planet's worth of natural resources by 2050.

Australia's Ecological Footprint - which is the amount of land and water area a human population uses to support its lifestyle - is currently at 6.6 global hectares per person per year behind countries such as the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Kuwait, but above the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Japan.

"The report confirms why it is that we are experiencing the kinds of problems we are right now, such as critical water shortages, the unprecedented decline of species, stressed fisheries and land degradation," said WWF-Australia CEO Greg Bourne.

"If the rest of the world led the kind of lifestyles we do here in Australia, we would require three and a half planets to provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste we create."

The report shows humanity's footprint has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003, and that our footprint now exceeds the world's ability to regenerate by about 25%. In the previous report, released in 2004, this figure was 21%.

In Australia, carbon dioxide continues to be the single largest component and accounts for about 51% of our ecological footprint.

"Cutting carbon dioxide emissions and setting targets for greenhouse gas reductions are essential if Australia is to reduce its ecological footprint to sustainable levels," Mr Bourne said.

WWF is calling on the Australian Government to set a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 30% by 2030, which will put us on the path for a 60% reduction by 2050, as recommended by the world's leading climate scientists.

WWF is also calling for an end to land clearing in Australia, which is the number one threat to biodiversity in this country, and for the implementation of a system of ecological accounting along the same lines as Australia's national accounts.

Mr Bourne said governments, businesses and households could all take action to reduce Australia's footprint.

"Many Australian businesses are already taking steps to reduce their footprint. The businesses of the future will use resources efficiently, produce minimal pollution, and provide product and services with a light footprint," he said.

WWF's Director General James Leape said civilisations around the world needed to rethink the way they used natural resources.

"It is time to make some vital choices. The cities, power plants and homes we build today will either lock society into damaging over-consumption beyond our lifetimes, or begin to propel this and future generations towards sustainable living," said Mr Leape.

For more information

Contact the WWF-Australia Press Office by email or phone on 1800 032 551, or 0410 220 608 after hours.

Source - WWF-Australia



Palm oil August 27 2010, 0 Comments

You may have heard a lot in the media about palm oil – its use, source and its damaging effects.

 So what is exactly is palm oil and why should we pay more attention to its use?

 Palm oil comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree and comes via a number of names including Elaeis guineensis (mainly cosmetics), sodium lauryl sulphate, cetyl alcohol, stearic acid, isopropyl and other palmitates, and other fatty alcohol sulphates. It can also be contained in some products labelled ‘plant derived’.

                                                                     

You may just be surprised what products contain palm oil ranging from ice cream, chocolate, fruit juice, soap, toothpaste, laundry powders, make-up, pet food and cleaning products to name a few. The alarming part is the widespread use and volume consumed.

 Due to its variety of uses, global production of palm oil has doubled in the last decade. In 2006, palm oil was the most produced and traded vegetable oil accounting for 65% of all vegetable oils traded internationally with worldwide demand again expected to double by 2020.

 This increased demand also saw (and continues to see) the expansion of plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries - often at the expense of tropical forest and critical habitat for a large number of endangered species.

 This large scale conversion has contributed to devastating effects on local species including tigers (Malaysia, Sumatra), Asian elephants (Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo), Sumatran Rhino (Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo), orang-utans (Sumatra, Borneo) and the sun bear (Malaysia, Borneo).

 In fact, the largest plantation developments are in Malaysia and Indonesia with South East Asia deforesting the equivalent of 300 football fields EVERY HOUR for palm oil production.   

 As a result of this wide-spread expansion, palm oil production can be attributed to single-handedly causing the dramatic reduction of the orang-utan population in Borneo.

                            


 Poaching of orang-utans for illegal pet trade in cleared areas is also a regular occurrence. In addition, the burning of natural forests to pave the way for palm oil plantations has contributed to the slow and painful death of thousands of these beautiful creatures as they try unsuccessfully to escape.

On top of this, the effects of land degradation, soil erosion, air pollution and climate change from palm oil production and land clearing is even more reason to boycott its use. The practice of draining and converting peatland forests is especially damaging for the climate, as these ‘carbon sinks’ store more carbon per unit area than any other ecosystem in the world.

These are the types of damaging activities occurring at the hands of palm oil production and its destructive nature on habitats, endangered species and our planet.

 So what can you do to help?

 Start by making palm oil free choices in your everyday life.

 You can begin by becoming educated and informed about the products you use and the ingredients products contain – question their source and their make-up.

 You can make a difference.

 Support businesses that support and produce palm oil free products and lets take real measures to becoming PALM OIL FREE.

For more information on palm oil issues and how you can help make a difference please visit:

www.orangutans.com.au

www.palmoilaction.org.au

www.zoo.org.au/palmoil

www.wwf.org.au

 

SOURCE:  Research, information and some content was sourced from the the WWF and Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Australia.