In accordance with a 2009 presidential executive order, the Senate has directed the Defense Department to look at uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles and other “formerly used consumer material”. The 2009 policy’s goal is that 95% of all new government contracts for items other than weapons be products or services that are “environmentally preferable.” This can take the form of nontoxic alternatives, products or procedures that don’t deplete the ozone layer and presumably granola-eating manufactory staff with a penchant for hugging trees.
Apparel made of recycled material is not new. The uniform company Cintas has been making hotel and casino staff uniforms of recycled bottles and apparently has a whole line of such recycled couture. Sports uniforms in South Africa have also been made from bottles retrieved from Japanese and Taiwanese landfills. Though it’s doubtful soccer players there must worry too much about IEDs, or need FR clothing, one hopes allowances would be made to keep military uniforms from melting onto a grunt’s skin.
Though it’s not widely known, the uniforms of some specialty units (like the Mobile Infantry) have been made from recycled soda bottles for years. Their MREs are all made of Soylent Green, too.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has asked DoD to report in time for items to be considered as part of the 2013 budget.
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