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NEWS | June 22, 2023

Grant furthers testing of hemp-based targets at Fort Barfoot

By Staff Reports

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs recently received a $1,000 grant in the recycling category from the “Keep Virginia Beautiful” organization. The money will be used to further research and testing of hemp-plastic targets at Fort Barfoot, according to John Sadler, Fort Barfoot integrated solid waste manager.
Currently, Fort Barfoot disposes of plastic range targets in the Nottoway landfill.
“We currently do not have the facility, machinery or manpower to process plastic for recycling,” Sadler explained. “The major problem with plastic recycling is the cost of recycling plastic versus the financial return of this commodity. Also, plastic can be rejected by many plastic companies because of contamination issues. When this happens it just ends up in the landfill anyway. This is why we are looking at a hemp-plastic alternative for our range targets.”
Hemp is a sustainable agricultural crop that requires minimal resources to grow and can have a fibrous structure that acts as a reinforcement for materials. Hemp-plastic can be placed in the landfill and decompose in a shorter amount of time than regular plastic, he explained.
“The great fact about the hemp-plastic is that it does not release Co2 emissions when breaking down,” Sadler said. “This is just a step forward to help fight climate change.”
The hemp-plastic company sent Sadler a sample of the product and it has passed testing on the small arms range. They are now waiting for a larger sheet of hemp-plastic to be delivered to test on the tank, grenade, and machine gun ranges.  
“If it passes this stage of testing, we will move forward on looking into the creation of targets made from hemp-plastic,” he said.
Doing so will not only solve the plastic target waste problem at Fort Barfoot, but at military training facilities across the country.
“Kudos to Mr. Sadler, whose innovation and drive has significantly advanced our recycling program since his arrival as integrated solid waste manager," said Charlton Dunn, Virginia National Guard construction and facilities management officer.

"I’m super excited about this," said Col. James C. Shaver, commander of Fort Barfoot. "If it works out to everyone’s benefit, it will have great impacts across Army and Department of Defense, potentially. I can share this with the TCCAC [Training Center Command Advisory Council] community as soon as we know it’s good to go."
“I would like to thank everyone at Range Operations/Range Maintenance, recycling, DPW leadership and Fort Barfoot leadership for supporting The Army’s Zero Waste initiative,” Sadler said.
“Keep Virginia Beautiful’s” mission is to engage and unite Virginians to improve the natural and scenic environment. According to their website, KVB believes in a shared responsibility to end littering, improve recycling and beautify communities. Through programs such as 30 in 30 Green Grants and the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, KVB has helped thousands of groups and businesses with litter, recycling and beautification projects across Virginia.

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