Posted by on January 19, 2017 6:45 pm
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Categories: Politics

January 19, 2017   |   Jake Anderson

(ANTIMEDIA) With climate change initiatives increasingly calling for biodegradable polymers to replace plastic, the pressure continues to mount on both federal and private entities to clean up their acts. The United States Department of Defense has reacted to this pressure with a new technology that would replace training ammunition with biodegradable material that contains bioengineered seeds. The seeds would sprout into flowers that consume the biodegradable components of the ammo.

The new proposed initiative, created by the DoD with assistance from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, intends to phase out current training ammunition, including 40 mm grenades and 155 mm artillery rounds. The initiative will not affect ammunition rounds in active combat zones; however, the environmental impact of ammunition in training zones is greater. In fact, a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) states that contamination from training ammunition covers 15 million acres of land.

The new initiative would have a two-pronged effect: one, it would prevent further contamination; two, it would help eliminate past contaminants, defraying some of the estimated $35 billion cleanup bill.

There is, of course, no small irony in ammunition sprouting flowers, given the history of the flower as a symbol for peace. For instance, a seminal image from the 1960s features a Vietnam War protester, later named Flower Child, holding out a flower to a legion of troops at the March on the Pentagon. Poppy flowers were also symbolically associated with the end of World War 1 and, subsequently, pacifism. Even this symbolism, however, is not without controversy, as over the decades some have come to view poppies as representative of British militarism.


Photograph by Marc Riboud, 1967

The DoD hopes the replacement of hundreds of thousands of training ammunition rounds with biodegradable material will inspire others in the private sector to take on similar projects that diminish our reliance on plastic. In the meantime, the U.S. military will sprout flowers from bullets in order to clean up collateral contamination.

This article (The US Military Is Making Bullets That Grow into Flowers After Shooting) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email

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