Is Airsoft ammo biodegradable? (5 materials that Airsoft ammo is made of) 

This article will cover and explain the biodegradability status of Airsoft ammo. Other covered topics would include: 

  • What is Airsoft ammo made of?
  • Is Airsoft ammo biodegradable?
  • How good is the utility of biodegradable Airsoft ammo?
  • How much time is required for biodegradable Airsoft ammo to degrade?
  • Are there any disadvantages to using biodegradable Airsoft ammo?
  • What is the best way to dispose of Airsoft ammo?
  • What is the case of biodegradable plastics?
  • Is Airsoft ammo sustainable?
  • FAQs

Is Airsoft ammo biodegradable?

Airsoft ammo made from conventional plastics and metals is non-biodegradable whereas, Airsoft ammo 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. 

The purpose and use of biodegradable ammo are almost the same as non-biodegradable ammo. However, there are certain downsides that cannot be ignored entirely. The disadvantages of using biodegradable bb such as expensive and less available. 

As regards the disposal options, the best option is to recycle airsoft ammo because it will not become a toll on the landfills in this way. 

What is Airsoft made of? (5 materials) 

To determine the biodegradability status of any material, one of the most effective ways is to assess what materials are used in the making of that particular product. 

As regards the materials used to make Airsoft ammo, 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 ammo. 

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 conventional plastics and other metals, the common materials used are :

  • Plastic
  • Copper
  • Zinc 
  • Steel
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Plastic

The materials are mostly derived from non-natural sources and mostly rely on fossil-based materials. 

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. 

Is Airsoft ammo biodegradable?

Biodegradability can be defined as the degradation of waste by the action of microbes. It is nature‚Äôs way of dealing with the waste problem because if there is a waste problem, there will be degradative effects on the planet and the people. 

Before we move on to the biodegradation of Airsoft ammo, let us briefly discuss why the biodegradation of Airsoft ammo is important. 

The current waste generation stands at more than 2 billion tons. This is expected to rise up to more than 3 billion in the years to come. 

A major source of this waste is non-biodegradable material that only is long lasting but also causes negative effects such as global warming or pollution. 

That is why there is a fervent need for Airsoft ammo to be biodegradable so that the waste problem may be tackled accordingly. 

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

Does biodegradable ammo mean any compromise on quality?

It is a common question that if biodegradable Airsoft ammo is preferred, would any compromise be made on the utility?

In some ways, this question is justified because it is seen that a step toward sustainability means a step back on the utilitarian aspect. 

However, this is not the case for Airsoft ammo. The purpose and use of biodegradable ammo are almost the same as non-biodegradable ammo. 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. 

How much time is required for biodegradable Airsoft ammo to degrade?

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

Non-biodegradable ammo 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 ammo, it is claimed that this ammo 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 ammo may not be that impressive (since natural materials may degrade in about a week too) but in comparison with non-biodegradable ammo, some appreciation can be commended. 

Are there any disadvantages to using biodegradable Airsoft ammo?

Let us now explore some of the downsides of using biodegradable Airsoft ammo because nothing is perfect. 

We have seen that when biodegradable ammo is used, there is no compromise on the quality and utility as such. 

However, there are certain points that cannot be ignored entirely. The disadvantages of using biodegradable Airsoft ammo are:

  • Usability limitations 
  • Expensive
  • May cause damage

When people buy biodegradable ammo, one of the biggest concerns is that this biodegradable ammo is more expensive since it is a product of technological advancements. 

Also, when biodegradable ammo is used, there are certain limitations that one should be mindful of. 

One such limitation is that when biodegradable ammo is opened, it will start to degrade readily. That is why biodegradable ammo must be readily used after it is opened. 

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

What is the best way to dispose of Airsoft ammo?

Every consumer product needs to be disposed of because there is a finite use for every product that we use. 

Hence, it is imperative to know what is the best way to dispose of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable ammo. 

As per studies, one of the best ways to dispose of ammo is to recycle it. 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 ammo 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 ammo are recycled. 

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

In short, the following benefits can be achieved when Airsoft ammo 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. 

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

What is the case of biodegradable plastics?

Plastics are known for being non-biodegradable and harmful to the environment and people. It is interesting what biodegradable plastics are and how they are made. 

Biodegradable plastics are made from natural materials such as sugar cane, sugar beets, mushrooms, and cornstarch. It is the use of these materials that make plastics biodegradable. 

These plastics are not only biodegradable, but are also compostable, and recyclable. However, these plastics are also home to a number of controversies too. 

As per some studies, biodegradable plastics are as toxic as their non-biodegradable counterparts. Also, it is assumed that these plastics may not fully degrade in natural systems. 

Is Airsoft ammo sustainable?

After covering all the relevant content, it is possible to answer the major question. 

Airsoft ammo made from conventional plastics and metals can not be called sustainable because this ammo is not biodegradable. It will remain in the system for many years while also featuring degradative effects on the environment. 

However, ammo made from PLA (water-soluble plastic) is relatively eco-friendly. It is the most sustainable option available. 

However, biodegradable Airsoft ammo needs to be improved so that the downsides (discussed above) could be overcome. 

Conclusion 

It is concluded that Airsoft ammo made from conventional plastics and metals is non-biodegradable whereas, Airsoft ammo 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. 

The purpose and use of biodegradable ammo are almost the same as non-biodegradable ammo. However, there are certain downsides that cannot be ignored entirely. The disadvantages of using biodegradable Airsoft ammo are:

  • Usability limitations 
  • Expensive
  • May cause damage

As regards the disposal options, the best option is to recycle airsoft ammo because it will not become a toll on the landfills in this way. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Airsoft ammo biodegradable?

How much time does Airsoft ammo take to degrade?

The answer varies based on the type of materials used. Non-biodegradable airsoft ammo may degrade in many hundred years whereas biodegradable ones may require about 1 to 1.5 years. 

What are the other names of Airsoft ammo?

Airsoft ammo is also called Airsoft bb. Airsoft is the brand name that produces. BB expands to a ball bearing or bullet ball. 

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 the Japanese literature. Archives of Ophthalmology, 118(5), 732-732.

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