BREMERTON — “I gotta tell ya, I felt as giddy as the ‘Ugly Duckling’ when he swam into the next pond over and found all those beautiful swans that looked and thought just like me,” said Laura Kneib, owner of F.R.O.G. Soap and master soap maker, when she learned she had won the 2017 Recycler of the Year Award from the Washington State Recycling Association her award.
She received the award at a June 14 ceremony held in Pasco, Washington.
F.R.O.G. Soap makes earth-friendly, handmade soap incorporating reclaimed vegetable oil as a part of their recipe. Each day, they strive to find new ways to recycle, reclaim and up-cycle ingredients, packaging and display items.
To date, they have reclaimed more than five tons of vegetable oil and corrugated cardboard.
The company reuses ‘like-new’ baskets, refills ink cartridges instead of buying new ones and reclaims wood from shipping pallets to make soap molds, soap decks and curing racks.
They also collect and reuse packing peanuts and paper to ship orders.
“It truly was a great experience to share thoughts and ideas with some of the recycling industry’s biggest players, Kneib said. “What they are doing and the sheer tonnage of material they have recycled and reclaimed just blew my mind.
“Compared to those folks, I feel like a bit of a piker, but then, no one else does what we are doing at F.R.O.G. Soap.”
“I came away from the WSRA Awards Conference with some crackerjack ideas, including a costume-swap program from Jenne McInnis, recycling coordinator for the City of Kirkland, who accepted the ROY Award for the City of Kirkland,” said Kneib.
“They hold a costume swap a few weeks before Halloween to make use of costumes kids have outgrown or never got to use,” Kneib said.
“Our Downtown Bremerton Association (DBA) puts on a sizeable Halloween event each year, and a costume swap a couple of weeks before would be terrific.”
F.R.O.G. Soap has shared its methods and recipes with organizations around the world including projects in Italy, Tunisia, Bolivia and Uganda.
Their most recent projects include a pedal-powered project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, making soap from reclaimed vegetable oil for their village (as was reported in EarthIslandJournal.org). They are now producing soap to sell to surrounding villages.
At present, F.R.O.G. Soap is working with a nonprofit organization in Victoria Falls, South Africa, called Greenline Africa Whomworks, to bring their communities out of poverty.
The goal is to make soap from waste cooking oil produced by local hotels and restaurants.
The project would be good for the environment, good for the youth, good for the local women that will be making the soap and good for the hotels and restaurants that will supply the oil, Kneib said.
F.R.O.G. Soap has a retail shop located at 530 Fifth St. in Bremerton, as well as an online catalog.
They create wedding, shower and corporate favors that are handmade, practical, earth-friendly, decorative, memorable and simple.
For more information about F.R.O.G. Soap, visit www.frogsoap.com.
For more information about the Washington State Recycling Association, visit www.wsra.net.