Swords into Plowshares

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Air Force bombs prepare for a new career / Air Force photo

We keep hearing about how “green” the U.S. military is getting — solar panels, bio-fuels, all that tree-hugger stuff — but the latest news is something even 1960s’ peaceniks could love: the Air Force is sending tons of practice bombs through a car-crushing machine at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, shredding them into valuable scrap metal that might end up in your driveway as a car, or in your kitchen as a refrigerator.

It’s part of an Air Force push to clean up munition sites. For decades, they’d been seen basically as dumps, keeping such land off-limits and/or dangerous (just ask the folks in D.C.’s posh Spring Valley neighborhood who keep finding World War I-era chemical shells in their backyards).

Best of all: the deal between the Air Force and its bomb-crushing team will cost about $150,000 per million pounds shredded, about 10 percent the cost of destroying the bombs (non-exploding, except for a small charge that detonates when the bomb hits the ground so observers can see its impact) in the more traditional way. It’s believed this is the first time such military recycling has been done in the U.S.