Interview with Dennis Abbeduto about Bio-Surfactants and Sustainability

In this episode, I spoke with Dennis Abbeduto, Personal Care Business Manager at Colonial Chemical with a long career history as a chemist in the cosmetics industry. This conversation was mostly focused on surfactants, although we spent a lot of time talking about sustainability pertaining to some of the industry trends at the moment. Today there’s a big push towards ‘biosurfactants’, switching out petrol for things like palm, or coconut, but at what cost? Biotech has huge potential to make ingredients more sustainable into the future, but alas, many certifiers will not approve these materials and many consumers are leery of them, due to their fear surrounding genetic modifications. It feels like misinformation may be slowing the industry from making better decisions, which we talked about.  I find myself often getting frustrated with perceptions of what’s ‘green’, including at certain conferences geared at educating the industry about sustainability, as well as in the marketing of so many brands. This is such an important concept that often isn’t given justice - it’s not good enough to think that a material will be more sustainable because it’s ‘100% natural’ or ‘organic’, show me the metrics to tell me how. Note, parts of this podcast are a bit more technical. If you’re new to the topic of surfactants, before listening to this episode, check out the surfactant episode I did with Perry Romanowski & my blog guide to surfactants for a good 101 breakdown, and then come back to this one.