Are biodegradable Airsoft bbs good? (3 environmental aspects)

This article will explain how good biodegradable bbs are in comparison to non-biodegradable bbs. Other covered topics would include: 

  • Are biodegradable Airsoft bbs good?
  • How well is the utilitarian aspect of biodegradable Airsoft bbs?
  • How well is the environmental aspect of biodegradable Airsoft bbs?
  • What are the good disposal options for biodegradable Airsoft bbs?
  • FAQs

Are biodegradable Airsoft bbs good?

Biodegradable Airsoft bbs are good because they are biodegradable, compostable and also can be recycled. These options are not that available when it comes to non-biodegradable bbs made from plastics or metals. 

However, there are certain downsides to using biodegradable bbs that include being a bit more expensive and less available. As per some studies, there could be health implications of biodegradable bbs (due to the presence of certain chemicals) that may not be there in the case of non-biodegradable bbs. 

As regards the future perspective, it is expected that the mentioned downsides will be alleviated in the years to come which will make biodegradable bbs one of the best options to choose from. 

What are biodegradable Airsoft bbs?

Airsoft is a brand that produces bullet balls. The bb may also expand to ball bearing. As regards the materials used to make Airsoft bb, it is seen that there is a diversity of materials used. 

Based on it, it can also be stated that since there is diversity, there also will be a hierarchy based on the naturality of Airsoft bb. 

As regards the materials and their hierarchy, there are two broad classes. One includes mainly conventional plastics while the other class usually involves water-based plastics. 

As for the case of conventional plastics, there is the inclusion of materials such as plastics, steel, zinc and copper. 

As for the other type, the most common material used is polylactic acid. This is a water-based plastic which is not as synthetic as the other class. 

The concerned topic here is biodegradable Airsoft bbs that are made from PLA, a water-based plastic. 

Since PLA is a biodegradable material, a preceding question that follows is how good this PLA is and does the use of PLA means any compromise on the quality as such or not. The article will explore all these dimensions. 

How well is the utilitarian aspect of biodegradable bbs?

It is a common perception that when the environment is preferred, there is a definite and unavoidable compromise on the utility. This is also what is reflected by the environmental-economic tradeoff. 

However, with the burgeoning technological advancements, the concept is getting obsolete with time. That is why we see that many non-biodegradable materials are replaced with biodegradable alternatives that really do not cost compromise on quality. 

The case of biodegradable bbs is very similar. Biodegradable bbs, in terms of quality and specs, are similar to non-biodegradable bbs. 

The purpose and use of biodegradable bb are almost the same as non-biodegradable bb. This is mainly because of the recent technological advancements that lead to a decrease in the rift between the environment and utility. 

Also, with the utilitarian factor in mind, the environmental factor can never be oblivious to. After all, in the long term, there is a direct and significant relationship between the environment and the economy. 

However, there are certain points that cannot be ignored entirely. The disadvantages of using biodegradable Airsoft bb could include being slightly expensive, less available, and also possible health risks that would not have been the case of non-biodegradable bbs. 

When people buy biodegradable bb, one of the biggest concerns is that this biodegradable bb is more expensive since it is a product of technological advancements. Also, when biodegradable bb is used, there are certain limitations that one should be mindful of. 

One such limitation is that when biodegradable bb is opened, it will start to degrade readily. That is why biodegradable bb must be readily used after it is opened. Therefore, it is said that biodegradable bbs will have a shorter shelf life.

Another concern that is shared by users is that Airsoft bb can cause more damage to sensitive areas such as the mouth if precautions are not factored in. 

How well is the environmental aspect of biodegradable bbs? (3 aspects)

When it comes to the environmental aspect, biodegradable bbs take a clear win. This is because biodegradable bbs will be biodegradable, and compostable, and would also not cause much strain on the environment. Let us explore all these aspects in due detail so that a proper unveiling may be done. 

The biodegradability factor

As regards the degradation of Airsoft bb, it is seen that Airsoft bb made from conventional plastics and metals is non-biodegradable whereas, Airsoft bb made from water-based plastic is biodegradable. 

The former may remain in landfills for many hundred years. The problem is not only with the duration it remains in the landfills, the problem also is the negative effects that are rendered on the people and the planet. 

Before we assess how much time biodegradable bb requires to degrade, let us assess how much time is required by non-biodegradable bb. This will let us understand the picture better. 

Non-biodegradable bb is made from materials such as ABS plastic or metals. These materials can require more than 500 years to degrade. 

Conventional plastics are made from the derivatives of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals. They have no nutritional content and that is why the microbes do not degrade them. Some plastics may even require up to a thousand years to degrade. 

Now, as regards the degradation time of biodegradable bb, it is claimed that this bb may degrade in about a year to 1.5 years. 

This process may be either facilitated or suppressed by external factors such as temperature, pressure, heat, aeration et cetera. 

It may also be commented that the degradation time of non-biodegradable bb may not be that impressive (since natural materials may degrade in about a week too) but in comparison with non-biodegradable bb, some appreciation can be commended. 

The compostability factor 

The answer again varies based on the type of material used to make Airsoft bbs. If the Airsoft bbs are made from conventional plastics, then there is no chance that these Airsoft bbs are composted. 

Composting may be introduced as the making of compost from waste. The compost may be used as a natural fertiliser that can replace synthetic fertilisers. 

As regards the bbs made from PLA, it is stated that this kind of bbs can be composted but in special facilities under observation. 

As it turns out, there are two types of composting methods that are commonly practised. One is the cold method and the other is the hot method. 

It is imperative to note that the case of Airsoft bbs has to be composted with the hot method, under high temperatures, because PLA may still contain toxins that could harm the environment and soil. 

The recyclability factor 

Yes, it is possible to recycle Airsoft bb. Not only is it possible, but it is also recommended that Airsoft bb may be recycled so that the strain on waste management may be reduced. 

Recycling can be explained as the reusing of any material after changes and modifications. Recycling is regarded as one of the best ways to deal with both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. 

When Airsoft bb is recycled, there will be little to no waste production. Also, the pressure on the raw materials will also be lowered when materials such as Airsoft bb are recycled. 

Another advantage of recycling Airsoft bb is that there will be less energy consumed in the overall process because the product (bb) would not be made from scratch. 

In short, the following benefits can be achieved when Airsoft bb is recycled instead of becoming part of landfills. 

  • Better waste management 
  • Better resource management 
  • Decreased pressure on raw materials 
  • Decreased energy use
  • Employment opportunities 
  • Protection against degradative effects of non-biodegradable materials. 
  • Decreased carbon footprint 

However, even with all these benefits, much of the bb waste becomes part of landfills. This increases pressure on waste management systems. 

What are good disposal options when it comes to biodegradable bbs?

In the case of biodegradable bbs, disposing of is the last option. That is because there are better alternatives available. 

When bbs are simply disposed of, they become a part of the landfills. This exacerbates the waste problem that we have which is already very fervent. 

The current waste generation stands at around 2 billion tons and is expected to rise to 3 billion tons in the years to come. That is why it is least preferred that waste should be made a part of the landfills especially when there are greener options available. 

Therefore, it is recommended that one of the best ways to deal with biodegradable airsoft bbs is to either recycle them or compost them. In this way, there will be apt utilisation of resources and waste. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that biodegradable Airsoft bbs are good because they are biodegradable, compostable and also can be recycled. These options are not that available when it comes to non-biodegradable bbs made from plastics or metals. 

However, there are certain downsides to using biodegradable bbs that include being a bit more expensive and less available. As per some studies, there could be health implications of biodegradable bbs (due to the presence of certain chemicals) that may not be there in the case of non-biodegradable bbs. 

As regards the future perspective, it is expected that the mentioned downsides will be alleviated in the years to come which will make biodegradable bbs one of the best options to choose from. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Are biodegradable Airsoft bbs good?

Can biodegradable bbs expire?

Yes, biodegradable bbs can expire because these have a shorter shelf life. To ensure this does not happen, you need to keep the biodegradable bbs in an airtight container. 

Which hurts more, bbs or paintballs?

Paintballs will hurt more than 10 times as compared to biodegradable bbs. Paintballs also have more surface area as compared to biodegradable bbs. 

References

  • Tokiwa, Y., Calabia, B. P., Ugwu, C. U., & Aiba, S. (2009). Biodegradability of plastics. International journal of molecular sciences, 10(9), 3722-3742.
  • Pagga, U. (1997). Testing biodegradability with standardized methods. Chemosphere, 35(12), 2953-2972.
  • Reck, B. K., & Graedel, T. E. (2012). Challenges in metal recycling. Science, 337(6095), 690-695.
  • Ramayah, T., Lee, J. W. C., & Lim, S. (2012). Sustaining the environment through recycling: An empirical study. Journal of environmental management, 102, 141-147.
  • Hopewell, J., Dvorak, R., & Kosior, E. (2009). Plastics recycling: challenges and opportunities. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 2115-2126.
  • Endo, S., Ishida, N., & Yamaguchi, T. (2000). The BB gun is equivalent to the airsoft gun in Japanese literature. Archives of Ophthalmology, 118(5), 732-732.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment