Getting rid of ammunition is serious business; tossing it in the trash or giving it to a friend aren’t acceptable forms of disposal. Using the proper channels will help you avoid any safety or legal mistakes.

Different states have specific laws that dictate how to discard your excess bullets and shell casings. However, some advice is universal. So, what should you do with ammo you don’t want? Read on to learn the safest bullet disposal methods.

Contact a Hazardous Waste Service

Since ammunition is explosive, it falls under the hazardous waste category. Since the government regulates this class of waste, improperly disposing of ignitable materials could lead to legal repercussions. Contact your local hazardous waste service and seek guidance on what to do.

You will need a waste cleanup company to handle large amounts of ammo. For smaller collections, they may have a drop-off location where you can safely discard your explosive waste. Always call ahead to learn about the process and avoid any dangerous situations.

Call the Non-Emergency Police Line

Your local police department may also be a good resource for disposing of unwanted ammunition. Some may send an officer to you to collect your rounds; others may point you toward other means of removal.

There’s no need to call 911 for this type of service. Your department should have a non-emergency line on its website.

Recycle Empty Shell Casings

You can’t recycle live ammo for safety reasons. However, empty shell casings are just pieces of metal. If you’re an environmentally conscious gun user, bring these to a recycling center that accepts scrap metal.

Make sure to give your empty casings a good cleaning first. Ammunition manufacturers can repurpose this metal in various ways, including producing more ammunition. This process keeps non-degradable metal out of landfills and preserves raw materials.

Visit a Gun Store or Shooting Range

If all else fails, you can always go right to the source. Gun stores and shooting ranges usually accept unwanted ammo. They will even take useless rounds off your hands and get rid of them safely. Since these places employ those with plenty of experience in gun use and ownership, they are an excellent resource for all things regarding safety.

Knowing what to do with ammo you don’t want is part of being a responsible gun owner. Educate yourself on important practices to establish safe, healthy habits.

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Dianne Pajo

Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.