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U.S. Air Force dining facility sparks innovation, implements reusable trays

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joniece Guerrero, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, prepares a food order at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 20, 2020.
OZZI trays were implemented to improve the quality of life and work centers for Airmen and families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joniece Guerrero, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, prepares a food order at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 20, 2020. OZZI trays were implemented to improve the quality of life and work centers for Airmen and families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Leiah Copeland, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, places a tray into an OZZI machine at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 20,
2020. OZZI meal trays were implemented in the dining facility to help save money, conserve resources and reduce waste. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Leiah Copeland, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, places a tray into an OZZI machine at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 20, 2020. OZZI meal trays were implemented in the dining facility to help save money, conserve resources and reduce waste. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Leiah Copeland, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, demonstrates where to put an OZZI token at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 20, 2020. OZZI meal trays save Spangdahlem AB $17,000 in funds, promotes recycling to Airmen and families, and helps the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Leiah Copeland, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, demonstrates where to put an OZZI token at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 20, 2020. OZZI meal trays save Spangdahlem AB $17,000 in funds, promotes recycling to Airmen and families, and helps the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

The 52nd Force Support Squadron Mosel Dining Facility began a transition from disposable to reusable meal trays, to be used by Airmen, in early March.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Cumbie, 52nd Fighter Wing innovation and transformation superintendent and wing office processes manager, said he wanted to improve the quality of life and work performance for Airmen and their families.

“Three years ago, the Secretary of the Air Force came up with new funding that allows commanders to help supplement their funding by specifically using this for innovation,” said Cumbie. “This way, commanders do not have to dip into their readiness funds or their annual budget.”

The Mosel Dining Facility was able to use their innovation funding for reusable meal trays as a way to save money and reduce waste.

“The DFAC was using $20,000 a year for disposable meal trays,” said Cumbie. “OZZI, the reusable meal trays, was the way FSS wanted to use their innovation funds this year. So far, OZZI trays are used in a manner that not only saves budget money, but helps out the environment out here in Germany.”

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Leiah Copeland, 52nd Force Support Squadron food service journeyman, said OZZI trays are a more convenient way to conserve resources.

“We used to go through foam cups and plastic trays like crazy,” said Copeland. “OZZI trays makes it so much easier to recycle, reuse, and save materials.”

Copeland explained the implementation and use of OZZI trays.

“You sign in and then receive an issued token,” said Copeland. “Once you receive your token, you drop it into the drop-box where you will then be given an OZZI tray. You can take these trays home with you, and then return it to the cleaning machine where another token will pop out for your next visit.”

Copeland said Spangdahlem AB has saved $17,000 for the year since implementing OZZI trays, saving more than three quarters of what they were originally spending on disposable trays.

“This system has saved so much money and resources,” said Copeland. “They are so much better at keeping food warmer for longer which is another huge factor.”

 The OZZI tray system helps Airmen who eat at the dining facility stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging taking their meals “to go” rather than dine in.

“The whole new process has been so much more convenient for the people who work in the DFAC,” said Copeland. “This also helps tremendously in keeping Airmen and families safe, especially during this time.”