Protecting our troops and the environment

Combat uniforms helping save the planet

Those who wear Australia’s Defence uniforms are known to protect our country from harm and now the combat clothing itself will be helping to protect Australia’s environment. 

Thanks to an innovative collaboration between Veolia, the Department of Defence and Ventia, uniforms that have reached their use by date will no longer be destined for landfill but will instead be used as an alternate fuel source.

Veolia is Defence’s national base service contractor for waste, sustainably managing over 50 waste and recycling streams.

This shift away from disposal towards reuse will contribute to Australia’s decarbonisation targets and help reduce the impacts of climate change. Importantly, it will also meet Defence’s strict protocols around the safe destruction of its uniforms.

Aligning with Defence’s industry leading environmental targets, uniforms that cannot be reused in other ways will be transferred to a resource-recovery facility  in South Australia. The facility will then reprocess the old uniforms as an alternate fuel source for a kiln that manufactures cement, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. 

The state-of-the-art operation is capable of extracting maximum value from materials otherwise destined for landfill, driving the circular economy. 

Veolia’s chief operating officer for waste, Tony Roderick, said the company’s collaboration with Ventia and Defence was a reflection of the company’s commitment to driving ecological transformation. 

“Australians send over 15 tonnes of textile waste to landfill every 10 minutes in a highly unsustainable practice that needs to change,” Mr Roderick said. 

“Where textiles cannot first be reused or recycled, as is the case for Defence’s highly secure uniforms, the next most sustainable option is to recover energy from them. 

“This shift in practice will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to reduce the impacts of climate change in what is a great illustration of the circular economy at work.”

Ventia’s retail services regional contract manager for Defence in Victoria/Tasmania, Craig Patterson, said working with Veolia and Defence on this initiative was a natural progression from its existing role operating Defence’s clothing stores and managing uniform disposal more generally. 

“The environmental challenges we face today require a collaborative approach,” he said. “Working closely with Veolia and the Department of Defence, we have demonstrated that working together on innovative solutions is attainable for the most complex of waste challenges,” he said

“Diverting these old uniforms from landfill is a huge result, the benefits of which will be realised for years to come.”




Dan Pagoda, External Relations Manager | +61 408 753 982 | [email protected]

Veolia Group aims to become the benchmark company for ecological transformation. Present on five continents with nearly 220,000 employees, the Group designs and deploys useful, practical solutions for the management of water, waste and energy that are contributing to a radical turnaround of the current situation. Through its three complementary activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, to preserve available resources and to renew them. In 2021, the Veolia Group provided 79 million inhabitants with drinking water and 61 million with sanitation, produced nearly 48 million megawatt hours and recovered 48 million tonnes of waste. Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE) achieved consolidated revenue of 28,508 billion euros in 2021.