Local skater turns waste into fuel in growing industry

Local skater turns waste into fuel in growing industry
Former pro skater turned CEO of Buster Biofuels, Buster Halterman (center), talks with a district official about using biofuel to power San Dieguito High School district buses. Courtesy photo

ENCINITAS — Next time you order fish tacos from Las Olas or french fries while visiting Legoland, you’ll be making a contribution to the local economy and the environment by closing the loop on waste. By collecting bio-waste and turning it into fuel for local use, Buster Biofuels is “greening” the local economy.

The company was founded in 2009 by self-proclaimed “backyard biodiesel enthusiast” and former professional skateboarder Buster Halterman. The Pennsylvania native spent four years as a professional before retiring from competitive skateboarding when he began working in action sports, focusing on marketing and branding. In 1998, he began competing again until 2008.

It wasn’t long after that Halterman’s entrepreneurial spirit intersected his farm-boy roots to develop a business that turned waste into usable product. “Living in a rural area is about as environmental as it gets,” he said. “I always thought that if everyone did their part the world would be a better place.”

Former pro skater turned CEO of Buster Biofuels, Buster Halterman (center), talks with a district official about using biofuel to power San Dieguito High School district buses. Courtesy photo

Buster Biofuels is doing its part to decrease and reduce the use of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and waste management problems.

Based in Escondido, the mission of Buster Biofuels “is to initiate, establish and service green initiatives for restaurants and companies in San Diego County that will reduce carbon emissions in our own backyard,” according to the company’s website.

Buster Biofuels has formed “The Alliance” with Legoland, the San Diego Padres and hundreds of restaurants, hotels and resorts to collect their grease and oil which gets recycled into biodiesel fuel. Biodiesel is a renewable, nontoxic and biodegradable fuel that can power virtually any diesel engine. With the addition of biofueled school buses in the San Dieguito Union High School District, emissions surrounding the youth are being reduced by as much as 70 percent when compared to petroleum diesel according to the company.

In the last two years, Halterman said the business has grown exponentially. “It’s been all about building relationships with restaurants and companies,” he said. “There is a lot of education of the clients. We are making people more aware of the importance of localization and sustainability.”

Some local residents are keenly aware of the benefits of biofuel. “Taking waste and making fuel out of it just makes sense,” said Charlie Hoffman, while dining at Wahoo’s Tacos, a member of The Alliance. “I like the fact that there is a local company taking advantage of the potential market.”

The company aims high with a goal to build a local bio-refinery, thus further reducing the carbon footprint. “We’re trying to create a meaningful, viable business that can provide green jobs in San Diego,” Halterman said. “We’re a small, growing company,” he said, “that’s proving our customer service.”

For more information, visit busterbiofuels.com.

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  1. Erin T says:

    What a great business concept, Buster! I wish you all the best in this endeavor.

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