Are BB's Bad for the Environment?

BB's, Green Gas, CO2
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Are BB's Bad for the Environment?

Post by Moondog »

Airsoft BB's and the Environment
Let me start by saying that I almost NEVER use bio-BB's. Nor do I require them for any of my events unless the field requires them. The reason is that they pose little environmental hazard.

Standard BB's and Bio-BBs are mostly made of Barium Sulfate (BaSO4) and a binder.[1] BaSO4 is a mineral similar to baking soda. It is ingested by people every day as part of gastro-intestinal X-Ray exams. Like eating chalk, it goes through you body and you poop it out without any harm.

In standard BB's the BaSO4 is mixed with polystyrene plastic as a binder to give it a hard shell. Polystyrene is the same kind of plastic used in foam drinking cups. These cups have gotten bad press from environmentalists because they do not break down as easily as paper cups, though in reality it's more because they're a visible eyesore than a danger. If you don't believe me, even the EPA does not classify styrene as an environmental hazard.[2]

Given that BB's are mostly inert minerals bound with a small amount of styrene, leaving BB's the ground strikes me as being as environmentally harmful as paving the your driveway with chalk and recycled plastic. But wait, that is what people do now. In fact it's considered Eco Friendly way to pave your driveway.[3]

Bio BB's are fine to use. They're slightly more expensive. They are designed to break down easily so they are more likely to shatter on impact (which may or may not be a good thing.) While I would never claim that airsoft BB's are Eco Friendly, using normal non-biodegradable BB's does not make you a douchebag. Your actions while playing define that.

[1] Arnie's Airsoft: ... _tests.htm
[2] Environmental Protection Agency:
[3] Plastic gravel driveways: ... vel-pavers
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Re: Are BB's Bad for the Environment?

Post by phridum »

I have always thought this as well. Probably because we have discussed this topic in the past or something. The science is there, but airsofters don't like science or fact. Neither is sexy enough. BANDWAGONS!

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