In a significant stride toward sustainability in defense practices, London-based green tech start-up Uplift360 has developed an innovative process to recycle end-of-life body armor fibers, reducing emissions and saving money, according to an announcement by the UK Ministry of Defence. This breakthrough initiative has received nearly £500,000 in funding from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), a part of the Ministry of Defence dedicated to supporting UK defense innovation.
Transforming Old Practices for a Sustainable Future
Minister of State for Defence, Baroness Goldie, commended Uplift360’s pioneering approach, stating, “The process designed by Uplift360 is a really good example of how new and intelligent thinking can transform old practices in Defence. Their innovative approach could reduce wastage, save money, and secure supply without compromising on high-quality kit for our armed forces.” Baroness Goldie emphasized the importance of reducing emissions while maintaining military capability, mentioning other initiatives such as sustainable aviation fuel, electric vehicles, and solar farms.
Currently, decommissioned body armor is incinerated, resulting in the loss of valuable fibers, including the widely recognized Kevlar, a strong and heat-resistant synthetic fiber used in armor. Kevlar is estimated to be 85 times more expensive than steel, making its recycling economically significant.
Preserving Fiber Strength and Versatility
Uplift360’s recycling process effectively breaks down body armor fibers and preserves their strength, allowing them to be reintroduced into the supply chain. These recycled fibers, which remain highly versatile, can find applications in various defense items, including airplanes, ground vehicles, heat-resistant clothing, ropes, and tires, contributing to both cost savings and reduced environmental impact.
Jamie Meighan, CEO and Co-Founder of Uplift360, expressed gratitude for DASA’s instrumental support in developing their “groundbreaking technology.” He highlighted the importance of finding funding and support that understood their vision and potential as a veteran/spouse start-up. Meighan reaffirmed the commitment of both Uplift360 and the UK towards achieving a sustainable future in defense while maintaining resiliency.
Uplift360’s recycling efforts, supported by DASA, represent a significant step toward a more sustainable and cost-effective approach to military body armor disposal, reinforcing the UK’s dedication to environmentally conscious defense practices.