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Sustainability is under the spotlight across the world’s largest industries, and governments are implementing new environmental policies and stricter regulations around everything from CO2 emissions to waste prevention and recycling. The personal protection market – made up of law enforcement, military, and private defense – is feeling the effects of these changes, since public funds are used to buy protective body armor such as soft armor vests, hard armor plates, and ballistic helmets.

The result? Material and body armor manufacturers are evaluating the environmental impact of their raw materials, processing techniques, and product usage throughout the value chain. It’s an exciting time, creating space for new and more sustainable innovations, as well as clear differentiation from one supplier to the next.

Dyneema®: A bio-based breakthrough

Enter the life-cycle assessment (LCA): an internationally accepted methodology for assessing and comparingdifferent products’ lifetime environmental impact. LCA results have shown that soft armor vests made with bio-based Dyneema® fiber have a carbon footprint three to five times lower than competing alternatives, such as aramid-based solutions and generic HMPE.

But there’s more: beyond the carbon footprint reduction it enables, Dyneema® goes further than all other ballistic materials in reducing the long-term effects of body armor on both people and planet alike.

1. Low weight, high performance

Dyneema®’s engineered performance characteristics enable high-strength, lightweight ballistic solutions that increase personal protection. By using Dyneema® UD material, body armor manufacturers need less material for their ballistic vests, plates, and helmets. This results in 30% weight  savings versus competitive materials, without impacting ballistic performance. Studies also show the lifetime of Dyneema® in personal and vehicle armor applications exceeds 10 years with no degradation in performance over time, meaning fewer articles (and less material) are needed.

Lightweight construction also helps users avoid injuries associated with the cumulative effects of daily armor use – which can often last for years after service is complete. During duty, low-weight ballistic vests and other protective gear generate less stress on the wearer and improve situational awareness, for faster response times and better cognitive and tactical performance when it matters most.

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2. Embracing responsible manufacturing

Our Dyneema® UD manufacturing facilities in Greenville, North Carolina and Heerlen, the Netherlands both use 100% renewable electricity. What’s more, our global manufacturing footprint enables shorter supply chains and proximity to key markets, increasing security of supply and reducing carbon emissions during materials transport.

Dyneema® is also proud to have introduced the world’s first-ever bio-based HMPE fiber. By sourcing raw materials from renewable, bio-based feedstock through the mass balance approach, we’ve further reduced our reliance on fossil fuel-based resources. Bio-based Dyneema® fiber boasts the same exact performance characteristics as conventional Dyneema® – meaning you can choose sustainability without compromizing on protection.

3. Teaming up for circular solutions

Finally, Dyneema® is hard at work developing end-of-life solutions together with our body armor manufacturing partners. We’ve created CirculariTeam®, introducing an industry coalition to address the recycling and repurposing of end-of-use products made with Dyneema®. We work with industry frontrunners to evaluatemultiple technology options that can help close the loop on circularity. 

Defense for people and planet

The sustainability trend isn’t going anywhere – and neither is our commitment to supporting meaningful change in industries like personal protection. By working together, we can make protective equipment for people more protective of planet Earth, too!

Contact our experts

Interested in learning more about Dyneema® for your project or end-use application? Reach out to our team of experts today.

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