THE PENTAGON — Starting in fiscal year 2021, the Department of Defense will reduce waste. by banning all single-use plastic explosives.
“I directed this policy change after reading a shocking study that literally zero percent of the C-4 plastics we use are recycled,” said James Harber, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Non-Readiness Related Issues, at a briefing to reporters. “It is absolutely unacceptable for DoD to be pumping thousands of tons of non-biodegradable, petroleum-based plastic explosives into the environment every year. We’re going to cut this to zero, and fast.”
In lieu of such environmentally harmful weapons, the DoD will being to employ more ecofriendly options such as sustainably sourced, small-batch, artisanal gunpowder.
“It’s about the big picture,” Harber said. “When you’re trying to blow something up, it’s imperative that you don’t also needlessly cause lasting damage to the ecosystem in the process.”
Eventually, DoD hopes that it can become more green in other ways. According to Harber, his office is looking at making more use of projectile weapons including railguns, catapults and trebuchets that don’t rely on polluting propellants.
“If you look at the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by a machine gun firing at a cyclic rate, it’s immense,” according to Harber. “So why not just use a low-carbon bow to suppress the enemy? They’re proven to work. The Canadian, uh, I think they’re called peacekeepers, recently adopted bows and arrows. It cut the carbon footprint of their infantry in half and created dozens of jobs for First Nations artisanal bowyers.”
As is often the case when organizations seek to become more green, a handful of individuals who reject the scientific consensus on climate change have criticized the move. Retired Army explosives ordnance disposal technician Billy James has started an online petition claiming that recycling explosives is “fucking stupid. How do you recycle something that just blew up?”
He says, “The ‘bomb-to-table’ movement is just a bunch of dumbass commie hippies.” The petition already has over 10,000 signatures.
Environmental groups categorically reject these claims, however. Sterling Wallace, the president of the Green Warfighting Foundation, a pro-recycling group, said that it is normal for the rank-and-file of large organizations to resist recycling. “There are always holdouts,” he said. “The trick is to remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“Focus on your recycling goal. Claims that ‘we just can’t recycle this’ are always absurd and typically made by non-specialists. These petitioners simply don’t understand how recycling works.”