State regulations could up cost of biosurfactants

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

State regulations could up cost of biosurfactants

Related tags: Cosmetics

The Comprehensive Regulated Grease Recycling Act headed for approval would require yellow grease collectors to be licensed in New Jersey.

The law would not only require those gathering and recycling yellow grease to register with the Department of Environmental Protection, it would also increase the fines in place for stealing the grease.


Yellow grease is used cooking oil that restaurants barrel up and store in alleys and parking lots until recyclers or middlemen come along and collect it for further industrial use—including eventual use in personal care products like lotions and soaps.

Added expense

The Comprehensive Regulated Grease Recycling Act would increase the cost of doing business for collectors and recyclers.

Currently in New Jersey, “the grease sells for about $1.80 a gallon,”​ according to Anthony Contorno, the owner of the yellow grease collection business CNET. Contorno spoke with Hugh R. Morley of​ regarding the proposed act, which has already been passed by the state senate.

“The grease collected from restaurants, delis and catering businesses used to be mainly recycled into soap, cosmetics and farm-animal feed. But increased use of environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel, which can be made by mixing diesel with refined cooking oil, has boosted demand,” ​wrote Morley. And, that has already increased the price of industrial products derived from the grease. 

Cosmetic ingredient

As with many cosmetic ingredients sourced from the byproducts of other industries, biosurfactants produced from the waste grease came into vogue because  “supply [was] outweighing demand, [and] scientists have ben busying themselves to try and find other uses for the waste,” Cosmetics Design​ explained.

Biosurfactants made from yellow grease were a cheaper alternative ingredient for cosmetics manufacturers when they came available over five years ago. “We have successfully demonstrated the use of restaurant waste oil as a potential low-cost lipid feedstock for sophorolipid production,” ​stated a 2007 report in the journal Biotechnology Progress. 

Formulators include surfactant chemicals as a wetting agent in personal care products, making it easier to combine liquids with other ingredients and improving the spreadability of finished products. “The rise in popularity of this family of chemicals is chiefly attributed to the personal care sector because of increasingly innovative formulations that are focused on functionality, efficacy and desirable textures,” ​wrote Simon Pitman, Cosmetics Design senior editor, in an article​ about the early promise of surfactants derived from yellow grease.   

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