It would be of little surprise to most, that turning wastes into fuel has been of interest to the sustainably minded for the past several years. This has been a focus of the Department of Energy and numerous companies, with a primary target early on being the production of ethanol at large-scale from primarily agriculturally relevant cellulosic residues; more recently, the generation of more complex hydrocarbon drop-in fuels. But as highlighted in a recent publication, DARPA—the advanced research arm of the Department of Defense—has a different idea: use a hybrid of biology, chemistry, and engineering to produce materials of intrinsic value immediately on-site at operationally relevant scales from an array of waste types, with a majority share being plastic. This is because plastic comprises the largest fraction of waste produced by warfighters – whether packing dunnage, residual from meals-ready-to-eat (MRE) rations, or bottles and other storage vessels. These conversion processes are desired at two different sizes, but with both being much smaller than a commercial-sized operation (e.g. biorefinery). First, expeditionary-sized, capable of processing single to tens of kilograms of waste per day to support a dozen to a hundred warfighters; second, stabilization-sized, capable of processing hundreds to thousands of kilograms of waste per day and able to support hundreds of warfighters and displaced individuals in instances of urban destabilization caused by hostile activities or natural disaster. It is through these different contexts that the value is ascribed to the outputs from the systems desired by the DoD. POLs—petroleum, oils, and lubricants—are critically valued by the warfighter for machinery and weaponry, and in instances of logistical disruption, the ability to quickly and locally produce a weapon lubricant from waste ascribes significant value to the process above merely the economic value of the product alone. Likewise, strategic materials including adhesives and fibers are critical for performing repairs and treating the wounded. Most intriguingly, the highest bar of the ReSource program denotes production of edible macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, or proteins), with the aim of providing overmatch and sustaining prolonged missions beyond what carried supplies can provide. While these are steep goals to achieve, the development of technologies that are able to convert the burden of waste to a benefit on a more controlled scale for the warfighter, might well facilitate some significant innovations that enable breakthroughs in the bioenergy and bioproduct sectors that in the end, help us all to achieve a more renewable and sustainable future.