30th Nov 2016
The Environmental Impact of Airsoft and Everything you need to know about Bio Ammo
If you go to any airsoft shop, game or airsofter’s house, there’s one thing that they will all have in common – airsoft ammunition.
The small 6mm ammunition is the one constant across all airsoft games.
If 50 players shoot 2,000 BB’s (0.20g) on a site every fortnight, that’s 500kg of plastic dumped into the woods every year.
That’s the equivalent of over 26,300 empty water bottles or enough plastic to fully equip 4 modern cars, just thrown into the woods. That’s one conservative estimate for one airsoft site, out of hundreds or even thousands in the UK.
As a sport ultimately responsible for its own fate, what are we airsofters doing about this?
This is where Biodegradable Ammunition (Bio BBs) comes in.
Biodegradable ammunition developed for airsoft use is specifically designed to degrade in the natural environment and leave little to no trace over time. It looks the same, theoretically shoots the same but gives a number of benefits.
It helps the environment and let’s sites operate in areas that would otherwise not allow tradition ammo.
If you’re not sure if you should make the jump to biodegradable ammunition, here are a few things that you should know.
They perform like all other BBs
What I mean by this is, like all other BB types, there are good brands and bad. They will only perform as well as the quality of the BB allows and this quality boils down to the manufacturing process.
Just like traditional BBs, a very cheap unknown brand may not perform as well as a better known brand. It’s down to you to do your research to find a reputable brand that will shoot well in your airsoft guns but the biodegradable properties of the BBs should not affect the performance.
You have to use them (relatively) quickly
When you purchase a bag of Biodegradable BBs, you will notice they come in a sealed air-tight container or bag. This is because bio BBs break down in the presence of moisture, oxygen and/or sunlight (UV).
It’s often recommended that you don’t open your Bio BBs until game day, to ensure that they don’t begin to degrade before you use them. You don’t have to keep them sealed until you see the white of the enemy’s eyes, but you shouldn’t be opening them months before you use them, either.
As Biodegradable BBs begin to break down, they swell slightly and lose their structural integrity. This means that they’re much more likely to jam in your barrel or break up as they’re fired. When this degradation process begins is dependent on how they’re stored and the brand, but storing them in an oxygen free, dark, cool dry place will keep them lasting the longest.
They are more expensive than standard BBs
Bio BBs are, unfortunately, most often more expensive than their standard BB counterpart. It’s only a small margin of 10-30% more expensive but it’s one of the main reasons why most people don’t use them when given the choice.
The cost is well justified though. Biodegradable ammunition requires different manufacturing practices over standard ammunition.
They also require different packaging solutions to keep them sealed until use. Combine this with the fact that they aren’t as popular amongst the majority of airsofters and we have a recipe for a more expensive product.
They are available in most common weights
You may think that due to the lack of demand and complexities in manufacturing that there are only BIO BBs in the most common of weights, but that’s not the case. Bio BBs are available in most weights from 0.20g all the way up to 0.40g from varying manufacturers.
So if you’re a run-and-gunner with a SMG or a sniper at the back of the field, there’s biodegradable ammunition for each play style. If your site says that bio ammo is mandatory, you won’t be left out.
They even make 8mm Bio BBs!
Bio BBs are an arguably huge benefit to the sport that self regulates itself. It shows a step forward toward being a responsible and regulated sport. If you’re in a position to support, purchase and use biodegradable BBs, we recommend that you do, for the benefit of your local site, the sport and the environment.