Improving the sustainability and environmental consciousness of the EU military, in line with the Circular Economy principles, requires the adoption of novel circular approaches regarding the production and use of Soldier Personal Protection Equipment (SPE) that follow the reduce, recover, reuse, repurpose and recycle (5R) approach.

However, due to the burden of complicated logistics for collection and dismantling and the technical difficulties of separating and recycling multi-material parts, these SPEs have a defined lifetime and must be disposed of afterward, with a substantial environmental and economic impact.

With partners across Spain, Ireland, Poland, and Italy, UTILE aims to develop technologies in three key areas:

AI-based digital platform for supply chain transparency and decision support

Technologies that allow the upcycling of current SPE products to close the loop and incentivate the circularity in the defence sector

Replacing petrol-based with bio-based and sustainable materials to reduce the non-renewable resources dependency usage


Provide the EU defense sector with advanced bio-based materials and eco-design concepts/products to improve recyclability and reusability in SPE manufacturing.

1. Integrate digital tools for circularity such as blockchain traceability and IT platforms

2. Develop novel materials and recovery/recycling technologies to enable the recycling of aramid fibers, UHMWPE, and other SPE components

3. Conduct technical, environmental, and economic studies to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed materials, products, and technologies, ensuring their viability for widespread adoption

4. Employ eco-design principles in SPE production, integrating in-line inspection, monitoring techniques, and testing procedures to minimize environmental impact and ensure product quality and safety

5. Develop recycling and reuse techniques, including bio-resins, to lower the cost of raw materials while maintaining performance standards

6. Pursue disruptive innovations such as bio-based epoxy resins, recycled aramid fibers, and AI-based circularity management platforms

7. Act as a facilitator for SMEs to enter the defense supply chain, particularly in the SPE market

8. Provide the EUCMS IT platform to catalyze the creation of circular ecosystems in the European Defence Technology and Industrial Base (EDTIB)