United States – David Spiegelman of US-based User-Friendly Recycling LLC, together with researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), have developed a prototype device designed to safely convert unspent bullets into recyclable metal powder and inactive gunpowder, which can be used for its chemical properties.
According to Spiegelman, the military, police departments, gun stores and firearms/ammunition makers in the USA are often confronted with the problem of having unwanted or expired bullets on their hands.
Spiegelman himself has met this issue by handling materials that included live ammunition, he confirms to Recycling Today. He turned to the CIE and its staff of researchers, who saw this as ‘a market opportunity’.
They developed a machine that renders the bullets inert and then separates them into components parts, including recyclable copper and gunpowder that can be used in the fertilizer market.
The ‘patented’ recycling system includes a tumbler that contains a chemical solution. The most recent prototype can handle 20 lb of ammunition per cycle, but the process could be ramped up to a larger scale if the market were sufficient, Spiegelman believes.
The system can be used by companies specialising in the handling of special and hazardous waste, state or regional law enforcement consortia, scrap recyclers and ammunition/firearm businesses that can use the devices on site.