Naval Base San Diego Takes a Spin on Used Cooking Oil

Last Updated : 8/13/2013 3:58:32 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher B. Janik

A contract is in place at a number of food facilities on Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) to begin selling their used cooking oil rather than paying to have it removed monthly.

The idea was brought to life by Larry Williams, the base’s deputy public works officer, after hearing about a rise in cooking oil theft at local San Diego restaurants.

“My mind had always been focused on how to reduce the cost of disposal, not who would pay to pick it up,” said Williams. “Recent technological developments have made it profitable to convert cooking oil to fuel and as a result, the market is starting to take off.”

The contract, which was put into place on June 1 at five locations on base, will save an estimated $1,000 dollars per year, and the funds will be used by Morale, Welfare and Recreation  to improve the quality of life for service members on base.

“It is exciting to have the contract in place.  It is nice to recycle our used cooking oil and get more money back to the sailors and their families,” said James Rhodes, acting N9 and  Morale, Welfare and Recreation director.

Even though there is a push for healthier foods, due to the high volume of service members who dine at base facilities daily, foods cooked with oil continue to be served as they are faster to prepare during busy meal times.

The base galley recently completed a one year renovation which included upgrades to the kitchen intended to cut down oil usage in order to provide healthier foods for galley guests.

“The galley is using an average of thirty gallons per month,” said Chief Warrant Officer  Robert Favela,  food service officer.  “Since our grand re-opening, oil consumption has been lower due to the new combination ovens we use. Navy initiative is to do away with frying any foods and using the oven method instead.”

Even though the Navy is working toward phasing out all fried foods in the future, the need for cooking oil will be necessary for some time to come.  And while it is necessary, Naval Base San Diego has taken a step in the right direction by getting a return on its oil consumption.

“While the payback for one base is not huge, it is a start,” said Williams. “If this cooking oil concept spreads region or Navy wide, the return could really be substantial.”