Imagined Resilience

U.S. Conservation Campaigns and Fat Salvage
  • Sarah Frohardt-Lane
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


Shortly after the United States entered World War II, Chicago fat renderers asked housewives to save leftover kitchen grease because of wartime shortages. Billed as helping the country to produce glycerine needed for explosives, the campaign to save waste fats became a national program that extended even after the war ended. Regarded in popular memory as an example of Americans coming together in the face of resource shortages to make do and do without, the fat salvage campaign’s primary function was to help soap manufacturers keep up production despite the war. By collecting fats to make more soap, the soap industry avoided rationing and the need for civilians to learn to get by with less soap. Instead of serving as a model conservation program, fat salvage exemplified industry efforts to keep up consumption despite wartime rhetoric about the need to conserve.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Frohardt-Lane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryRipon CollegeRiponUSA

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