A single game of airsoft will see thousands of airsoft BBs shot around by opponents. And while non-biodegradable BBs were commonly used back in the day, more people are switching to biodegradable pellets to reduce the sport’s negative environmental impact. But despite their increasing popularity, are biodegradable airsoft BBs any good?
Biodegradable airsoft BBs are good options, as they decompose over time, Biodegradable airsoft BBs are good options, as they decompose over time. Non-biodegradable BBs don’t decompose, so they’re not eco-friendly. educing litter and risks to local wildlife. Non-biodegradable BBs don’t decompose, so they’re not eco-friendly.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at biodegradable airsoft BBs to determine if they’re any better than traditional airsoft pellets. Ready? Then let’s get straight to business.
What Are Biodegradable Airsoft BBs?
Biodegradable airsoft BBs are similar to normal airsoft BBs in size and shape. However, bio airsoft BBs are a lot friendlier to the environment as they decompose over time due to the action of bacteria and weather elements.
With biodegradable pellets, players can indulge in the sport without the fear of negatively impacting the environment, at least not in the long term!
Most biodegradable BBs are made from polylactide (PLA) plastic; a polymer derived from various renewable materials. This allows the pellets to decompose gradually once released from the gun.
Do Biodegradable Airsoft BBs Degrade Fast?
Biodegradable airsoft pellets will break down in about 1.5–3 months when placed in a recycling facility. However, in the outdoors, where most airsoft events take place, biodegradable pellets will take longer to decompose, up to over a year.
The decomposition rate in outdoor settings greatly hinges on the immediate environment and exposure to elements like sun and water. But on average, you can expect biodegradable airsoft BBs to fully decompose in 12 to 15 months.
Some biodegradable BBs can even take longer to decompose if they’re made from low-quality bioplastics. Cheap, biodegradable airsoft pellets can even take 2–3 years to decompose fully and might contain some harmful chemicals that can pose health risks to land and aquatic animals.
I have an in-depth article on how long do different airsoft BBs take to biodegrade.
Advantages of Biodegradable Airsoft BBs
Biodegradable airsoft BBs come with several advantages, as discussed below.
No Long-Term Environmental Impact
Sure, biodegradable airsoft BBs will still pollute the environment in the short term as they’ll lay on the ground for months or even years before fully decomposing. However, biodegradable pellets will break down completely in the long term, making them great options for environmental conservation.
Safer for Animals
Wild animals (or pets) won’t hesitate to eat anything that looks like food. The good news is biodegradable airsoft pellets are usually made of plant-based plastic and not ABS plastic that’s toxic when consumed. The lack of potentially toxic chemicals in biodegradable BBs ensures that animals won’t be negatively affected should they consume the pellets.
No Restrictions in All Airsoft Fields
Biodegradable BBs have gradually overtaken traditional pellets in terms of popularity and preference. Most airsoft facilities have taken a stringent stance on traditional pellets, preventing players from using non-biodegradable airsoft BBs in their fields. Therefore, by using biodegradable airsoft pellets, you’ll be allowed to play in all airsoft fields.
Disadvantages of Biodegradable Airsoft BBs
Although biodegradable airsoft BBs are ideal for conserving the environment and wildlife, they still have their disadvantages, as discussed below.
Costlier Than Traditional Airsoft BBs
Biodegradable airsoft BBs tend to cost a lot more than their traditional counterparts. This can come as a disadvantage considering they don’t improve overall performance. The high cost of bio BBs is mostly attributed to bioplastics in manufacturing, which tends to be costlier than ABS plastic. Moreover, bio BBs require proper sealing, which also plays a role in increasing overall costs.
Shorter Shelf Life
You’ll need to put your biodegradable airsoft BBs to use soon after purchase as they’re prone to decomposing once their seals are broken. Therefore, if you elect to purchase bio BBs weeks or months before visiting an airsoft field, it’s best to store the packs in a cool, dry place away from moisture and sunlight.
Not Reusable As They Shatter Upon Impact
It isn’t advisable to reuse biodegradable airsoft BBs as they’re designed to shatter upon impact. Traditional BBs made from non-biodegradable ABS plastic are a lot better in this regard as they can be put to use several times, provided they’re in good shape. Either way, recycling airsoft BBs (whether plastic or bio) isn’t recommended as the deformed pellets can jam your gun.
Why Choose High-Quality Biodegradable Airsoft BBs
Bio airsoft BBs won’t jam your gun as they’re usually designed with the gun in mind. However, purchasing low-quality biodegradable BBs increases the chances of your gun jamming, especially if exposed to moisture and sunlight.
The trick, therefore, is to go for high-quality bio BBs and ensure they’re properly stored before being put to use.
Does Bio BB Usage Affect the Barrel?
Bio BB usage usually doesn’t negatively affect the barrel of airsoft guns, making them ideal alternatives to plastic BBs. However, using a biodegradable BB that’s already started to decompose increases the chances of your airsoft gun getting jammed.
If a bio BB shatters inside your airsoft gun, examine the inside and clean the barrel to ensure nothing gets damaged.
However, using bio airsoft BBs won’t require you to handle or treat the gun differently. If anything, biodegradable pellets have many similarities to normal BBs in terms of shape, weight, and performance, meaning you won’t need to change a thing when shooting with bio BBs.
Are Bio BBs Worth It? Final Takeaway
Bio BBs are worth it because they come with more advantages than disadvantages, as they don’t have long-term environmental impacts. While bio BBs can be polluting, they usually start to break down after exposure to sun and moisture, making them safe for the environment.
Additionally, bio BBs aren’t made from harmful materials that can cause health problems once consumed by wild animals and pets. You’ll also love that biodegradable BBs don’t affect airsoft performance and are also safe for airsoft guns.
However, you should be careful when handling bio BBs as they start decomposing once exposed to sunlight and moisture.