Rinse, Lather, Repeat 

"Procurement costs being what they are - and there is no sign things are different today - there was a time when soap supplied to the Canadian Army cost two hundred dollars a ton. Or, if one keeps in mind that a single soldier used at least one pound of this product a month, it cost ten thousand dollars per month to procure soap for an army of one thousand soldiers.

In this map of Work Point Barracks from WWII, the soap factory established by Staff Sergeant-Major F.C. MacDonald is shown on the bottom left of the image.

"With the establishment of [wartime] recycling programs, as everyone knows, in these nationwide drives to recover reusable waste products there are many materials ideally suited for reuse. Kitchen grease and waste from restaurants and food processing can be easily used in the manufacture of soap. This Staff Sergeant-Major F.C. MacDonald knew, well before the onset of the war. He had acquired a great deal of experience in this field in a soap plant in Chicago. With the establishment of the recycling programs, this savvy public servant thought it would be possible for the Canadian Army to manufacture its own soap at a much lower cost.

"Authorization was given for him to set up shop in an unused ammunition storage space at Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt, BC. He wasn't given a lot of time to prove it was worth the effort. Things went so well that everyone was soon amazed to see an industry prosper in what had been an unused storage space. 

"Today, thanks to this initiative, soap can be manufactured to meet the Army's requirements at a thousand dollars a month, when other sources cost ten times as much. In other words, the use of kitchen waste, including non-military, and used motor oil from Army vehicles, yielded soap at pennies a pound. With time, it seems possible this cost will be reduced even further. 

"In a previous issue of this publication we observed that the Canadian soldier is the best fed in the world. Now there is no doubt our soldiers are also the cleanest!"