As a sport that relies heavily on remaining in players’ and non-players’ good books, the airsoft community is one that is constantly looking to keep up with modern times. Unlike hugely popular sports such as football or rugby, airsoft is very much its own boss (other than legal legislation, of course), meaning that we can all play a part in bending and shaping the sport to best suit the players. Due to the nature of the sport, rules are adjustable to suit certain scenarios and can differ from site to site. As part of ‘being our own bosses’, it’s important that we take external factors seriously, such as legal and environmental considerations.
Something that is consistent across all airsofters is ammunition. At home, we each have hundreds, if not thousands of small spherical pellets that we fire at each other. Depending on the day, it’s possible for 50 players to shoot upwards of 1000 BBs each, each weighing either 0.12g or 0.20g. This means, conservatively, there is 6KG of plastic being dumped into the woods by one site every week/fortnight. Realistically, picking the BBs back up at the end of each session is not a viable solution, so how can this be improved? Enter Bio BBs.
Bio BBs have been knocking around for a number of years but only recently have started to up their game and become a viable option for airsofters. As with all new products, it takes some time to work out the bugs and hit the sweet spot. Previously, we’ve seen some ropey attempts to bring some bio BBs to market that have started to degrade before they’ve even been fired. However, we feel like bio BB manufacturers have finally nailed it and we are starting to see some quality products come onto the market.
Biodegradable has been a buzz word for the past ten years or so, but its presence has never been felt more than now. With the development of biodegradable everything now coming into fashion, people are starting to wake up and take it seriously. When something is biodegradable, it means that it is capable of being broken down (degraded) by organic processes used by things such as microorganisms, bacteria and fungi (bio).
Biodegradable BBs are produced using an alternative manufacturing technique as the material used to produce them is different. The material is designed to swell and misshape over time which affects the structural integrity of the pellet. One of the main factors of degradation is moisture, therefore, keeping your bio BBs in a dry place is vital.
Typically, once fired and left on the ground, a biodegradable BB takes roughly three to six months to degrade, much faster than a standard plastic BB which could take hundreds of years. The pellets are typically made of various types of resin, most commonly found within the agricultural industry. Because of this, it is common for the higher quality materials to have been certified compostable.
It’s important to note that due to the biodegradable nature of these BBs, they should be used sooner rather than later, ideally within the month that you purchase them. Bio BBs should always come in an air tight bag or container, this will avoid any premature degradation. We recommend keeping them sealed until game day, this way you can be sure that they won’t be misshapen, and will fire consistently and accurately.
As mentioned above, the manufacturing process for bio BBs differs to that of standard BBs, which means the costs are slightly higher. Over time, as bio BBs begin to become the norm and regular plastic pellets start to get phased out, we can expect to see prices fall slightly; as it is cheaper to manufacture in bulk. Currently, many bio BB packs cost around 10% - 30% more than their plastic counterparts. However, when we consider the overall impact of the plastic BBs on the environment, the small price increase really is insignificant.
Another great thing about using bio BBs is that they come in all the popular sizes and weights as normal BBs, meaning you’ll be saving the environment one enemy at a time! If you’re a regular airsofter, we’d thoroughly encourage making the switch to bio BBs, as for a sport that is pretty much self-regulating, it’s vital we stay ahead/in line with the curve.
If you’re looking to make the switch and start saving the planet, you can find a range of biodegradable BBs on our online store, alongside our range of airsoft rifles and pistols. We particularly recommend the Nuprol 0.20g RZR Bio 6mm BBs, at just £9.99 for a bottle, you really can’t go wrong!