October 7, 2022

Before we proceed to ways of recycling, let’s touch on the components that make up a piece of ammunition, also known as a cartridge.

What To Do With Old Ammunition?

A cartridge comprises a bullet, casing, gunpowder, and a primer. The primer is positioned on the bottom of the casing, the gunpowder is within the casing, and the bullet protrudes out the opposite end. The bullet is normally composed of lead but might be another kind of metal or cased in another sort of metal. The casing is normally constructed from brass but might possibly be steel.

Can Ammunition Be Recycled?

Yes and no. If the ammo is unused, it’s conceivable to recycle it, although the option to do so isn’t frequently accessible. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) built a system prototype to dismantle cartridges into their component pieces for recycling.

The metals may separately be recycled, and the gunpowder can be repurposed as fertilizer. This innovative technology will make it simpler for police agencies and other recyclers to gather and recycle ammunition.

When it comes to ammo that has been used, you’re essentially simply left with the brass case. The brass case is recyclable, thus, when a round has been shot at the range, this piece may be recycled. Generally, though, they are actually utilised to produce fresh ammunition. Brass casings may be reused several times.

Can Ammunition Be Recycled

Where Do You Take Ammunition for Disposal?

If you find yourself with rusted or useless ammo, various choices are accessible.

Police Station

The first place to check is your local police station. Don’t phone 911; call their local number and ask if they’ll accept ammo. Many will tolerate it in lower amounts. If you have a significant quantity of ammo, though, they may not. They may also have further recommendations on where to take it.

Hazardous Waste Collection Events

Suppose your local police station won’t take the ammo. In that case, the next place to check is your municipal or county hazardous waste drop-off centre. You may use the Earth911 Recycling Locator to identify a pickup place or check your city/county website. If they don’t collect it there, make sure you check their collection events. While many won’t take ammo daily, they may accept it for particular collection activities over the year.

ammo Hazardous Waste Collection Events

Local Gun Range

Suppose your neighborhood hazardous waste plant isn’t functioning properly. In that case, you should look next at the nearby shooting ranges. If you just have a few corroded rounds, they may be prepared to take them from you. However, this strategy may not work if you have many corrupted rounds. Numerous shooting ranges have a system to collect dud rounds, also known as cartridges, that do not ignite when the trigger is squeezed and appropriately dispose of them.

Things You Should Never Do With Ammunition

Several of the recommendations we have seen or heard need to clarify their meanings. To begin, you should never bury ammo to get rid of it. The remaining cartridge components harm the surrounding ecosystem, even though the gunpowder may be recycled into fertilizer. It is not recommended that spent bullets be buried in the ground because the lead in many bullets may seep into the groundwater supply.

It is also not a good idea to dispose of ammo in the garbage. This should not be done. When that ammunition is dumped into the back of a garbage truck, and the compactor starts running, it has the potential to cause the cartridge to fire, which would then send the bullet in a direction that could be potentially hazardous.

Things You Should Never Do With Ammunition
Top view of box with ammunition for gun on the table. Bullets for pistol in shooting range

The last thing you should avoid doing is putting it in water or oil and then throwing it away. People believe that if they soak old ammunition in water or oil, the gunpowder will be ruined and no longer ignite when the primer is struck. This is not the case. Although this can occur, there is no assurance that it will. It is possible that the water or oil will not make it into the cartridge or that the gunpowder will dry out, rendering the cartridge hazardous once more if it were thrown away.

Donate/Give Away

Even if you do not want to or cannot make use of your ammo, this does not imply that other people won’t. The majority of the time, local gun ranges will take unneeded ammo. Sometimes, they will even accept dud rounds to dispose of them securely and efficiently. Additionally, police stations may sometimes take very minor quantities of ammunition. Be careful to phone the local number listed for the police station to inquire about whether or not they are receiving ammunition.

Drop Off

If all other options are exhausted, the site closest to you that accepts hazardous waste disposal may be prepared to accept spent ammo. Although it is possible that they may not be willing to collect ammo daily, you should keep a watch on their newsletter or social media for any special collection activities that they may be hosting. In point of fact, doing a search for specific collecting activities for products such as ammunition as a whole could be a prudent thing to do.

Those who possess firearms are aware of the need to practice responsible gun ownership, including the proper disposal of spent ammunition. These are some wonderful methods to dispose of your ammo that are safe and even helpful to the environment, in addition to some suggestions for avoiding the damaging effects of improperly disposing of ammunition.

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