The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Laura’s Soap

Posted on January 20, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Vegan F.R.O.G. Soap®
Using used cooking oil, glycerin and cardboard from landfills
By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

Diverting tons of used cooking oil, glycerin, and cardboard from landfills since she began four years ago, Laura Heibert, founder and owner of F.R.O.G. Soap creates her products “From Reclaimed Oil and Glycerin.” See: Laura told The VRG in January 2017 that she uses “a little over a ton of reclaimed material each year. That number keeps growing!” Every bar of F.R.O.G. Soap contains at minimum 4 oz. of waste vegetable oil.

Since some vegetable oil may contain animal-based residues if meat products had been fried in the oil, we asked Laura about her oil. She replied by email “We know the source of oil and exactly what has been cooked in the oil we reclaim: potatoes. No animal fats involved, save the butter fat in our goat’s milk bars.”

As stated on her website: “We make all of our beautiful soap by hand in small batches, for purity and freshness. Our earth-friendly ingredients are sourced locally when available.

Laura’s soaps contain the glycerin (also called “glycerol”) produced in her soap-making process (i.e., saponification). Glycerin is also a “waste” by-product of biofuel production. Laura told us in January 2017 “At times I make a special run of soap using glycerin that is created in the making of biodiesel fuel. The process separates the glycerin from the fuel. I do not have a source for it right now so will not be making any in the near future.” [VRG Note: Approximately one gallon of glycerin is produced for every three gallons of biofuel.]

We also asked Laura if she used carmine, a common red colorant derived from beetles. She replied: We do not use any animal-derived ingredients at all. All of our scents are essential oils and plant-based. Our colorants are oxides and plant- based. We use sea lettuce, dandelion greens, clay, activated charcoal and some of the oldest used colorants on the planet: indigo, alkanet, and madder root. I also use spices for color including paprika, turmeric, and cumin…The only red I use is madder root, which is plant-based.

Since activated charcoal could be derived from animal bones (usually known as “biochar”) we asked about F.R.O.G.’s charcoal and learned that “The activated charcoal is made from various hardwoods and coconut shells.”

The vanilla in some F.R.O.G. products “…is not an extract, and comes from the beans. It does not come from animals. I use it in several bars. I also use it in some of the cupcakes I make. “

The VRG inquired if the palm oil in F.R.O.G. products had been reclaimed. Laura informed us that “I source my palm oil from Bramble Berry® Soap Making Supplies. See: Their Palm oil supplier is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization that supports sustainable palm oil production.”

On the Bramble Berry website it states that “Currently, Malaysia is the largest exporter of palm oil in the world…Palm oil…is typically replaced for tallow in all-vegetable oil recipes.”

We wrote to Bramble Berry to find out the country of origin for the palm oil which it sells. We received an email reply from Matt in Bramble Berry Customer Support: “Our palm oil is farmed in Indonesia. :)” [Note: All FROG Soap contains palm oil but some other products do not. Beeswax is present in some products.]

Laura reuses cardboard to package her products. Interested readers may view this process here:

The VRG asked Laura if the shredded paper which she repurposes as packaging can be recycled. She replied: Shredded newspaper is not usually accepted for recycling. You can, however, use it in the garden as mulch. You can also use it as fire starter or reuse it for packing.

Related Links:
An infographic illustrating how much waste vegetable oil is produced by fast food restaurants in the US:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) FAQ:

A listing of U.S. Companies which accept waste cooking oil for biofuel production:

To learn more about ways in which waste vegetable oil is repurposed:

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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