Airsoft BBs are small, round plastic pellets that are used as ammunition in airsoft games. Airsoft BBs are popular among enthusiasts, yet their environmental effects cannot be overlooked.
Even though these pellets are small, they can accumulate in soil and waterways, posing a danger to wildlife.
Recycling plastic items is the ideal disposal method, yet airsoft BBs are difficult to recycle due to their size and weight.
Furthermore, the plastic used in them may not be the same kind accepted by recycling facilities, further complicating the process.
Due to their small size, airsoft BBs can often get overlooked and cause damage at recycling facilities.
Challenges With Recycling Airsoft BBs
Small Size And Lightweight
Airsoft BBs are small, spherical plastic pellets that are difficult to sort and process in recycling facilities due to their small size and lightweight.
They can easily mix with other materials and cause contamination, challenging recycling.
Airsoft BBs are made of non-biodegradable plastic, which takes hundreds of years to decompose, creating an environmental hazard if not disposed of properly.
Damage To Recycling Machinery
Airsoft BBs are so small and lightweight that they can get stuck in the recycling machinery, leading to damage.
Not only does this disrupt the recycling process, but it also increases its maintenance cost.
Disposing Of Airsoft BBs Properly In The Trash
Collect the BBs in a small, sealable container to prevent them from spilling out and becoming litter.
Place the container in a plastic bag, seal it, and put it into another to prevent breaking and spilling.
Label the Bag as “Non-Recyclable” to help waste management workers accurately identify and sort it correctly.
Throw away the bag in your regular trash bin, not the recycling bin.
Ensure you adhere to your area’s local waste management agency disposal regulations.
Do not flush airsoft BBs down the toilet, as they can cause damage to plumbing and the environment.
Spread awareness on disposing of airsoft BBs to help prevent litter and environmental harm.
Important Tips For Reducing Airsoft BB Waste
Use Biodegradable Airsoft BBs
Biodegradable airsoft BBs are made of materials that break down naturally over time, such as cornstarch.
This makes them more eco-friendly than traditional plastic BBs since they decompose faster and do not harm the environment.
Utilize A BB Catcher
A BB catcher is an electronic device that captures BBs as they exit an airsoft gun, helping to prevent them from scattering on the ground and reducing waste generated.
Use A Speed Loader
A speed loader is efficient and allows you to load BBs quickly into your airsoft gun, helping reduce spilled BBs during loading and eliminating waste.
Avoid Shooting Into The Air
Shooting airsoft BBs into the air wastes them and poses a safety risk to people and animals in the area.
Aim at a safe target and avoid shooting indiscriminately.
Use A Reusable Target
Instead of using paper targets, which generate waste with each use, invest in a reusable target made of durable material.
This helps to reduce the amount of waste generated during airsoft games.
Are Airsoft BBs Biodegradable?
Airsoft BBs come in two varieties – biodegradable and non-biodegradable.
Biodegradable BBs are designed to break down within 90 days when exposed to natural elements, while regular plastic BBs may take several years before decomposition.
You must use biodegradable BBs when playing outdoor airsoft games as they typically contain materials like cornstarch or other organic compounds that aid the breakdown process.
What Is The Difference Between Biodegradable And Regular BBs?
Choosing the correct type of BB is essential to ensure you’re doing your part towards protecting our planet.
Regular BBs and biodegradable BBs differ in the material used.
Biodegradable BBs are made from polylactic acid, while traditional BBs are usually composed of copper or zinc and, occasionally, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.
ABS plastic decomposes for decades, leaving behind particles that harm the environment. Metals and plastics, in particular leave behind hazardous by-products which may also harm humans or animals when exposed to air, food, or water.
Additionally, regular BBs can release harmful substances into the environment during their decomposition process, while biodegradable BBs break down completely with no trace left behind.
Polylactic acid was specifically engineered with this in mind and breaks down to form humus – beneficial to plants and soil alike – upon breakdown.
While regular BBs made from petroleum-based products do not decompose, biodegradable BBs offer a more environmentally friendly option that breaks down harmlessly and benefits the ecosystem.
How Can I Reuse BBs?
There are ways to reuse BBs if you’re keen on doing so. Instead of firing them from your gun, scavenged BBs can be used for loading claymores, and booby traps.
These devices don’t face the same risks of being damaged by low-quality BBs, but using brand-new BBs to load them can get expensive.
Reusing BBs is a cost-effective way to use these devices, especially since a single claymore can hold up to 700 BBs.
Another way to reuse BBs is to build a padded target box for collecting BBs after target practice.
This can be accomplished using a cardboard box, a thick pillow, and a paper target covering the box opening.
As BBs hit the target, the pillow absorbs and slows them down, allowing them to be collected easily within the box.
Indoor arenas also use old BBs to fill sandbags, which can be used to build cover and obstacles. After sweeping the arena, old BBs are gathered and placed in sacks for reuse.
Are PLA Airsoft BBs Eco-Friendly?
PLA (polylactic acid) Airsoft BBs are often promoted as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic BBs.
PLA is a biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources such as corn-starch and sugarcane. PLA BBs biodegrade faster than their plastic counterparts.
However, it’s essential to remember that they still require certain conditions for degradation – including heat, moisture, and microbial activity – to fully biodegrade.
PLA BBs may not decompose quickly enough outdoors and may need special disposal methods.
Furthermore, the production of PLA still consumes energy and resources, while transporting PLA BBs could contribute to carbon emissions.
Thus, while PLA BBs may have some eco-friendly advantages, they should still be used responsibly and disposed of correctly.