How To Dispose Of Old Ammo

Whether you’re a complete beginner to gun ownership and an amateur shooter or a seasoned pro, eventually, you’ll encounter ammunition that can’t be used to shot. Whether it’s old, corroded, or some damaged ammo you no longer trust, you may find yourself trying to figure out how to dispose of old ammo safely.

A quick search on the internet will turn up lots of recommendations; however, not every solution you find through the internet is useful, especially when it is concerned with ammo and firearms. Many of the disposal recommendations you’ll find on the internet are hazardous, illegal, or both.

How To Dispose Of Old Ammo

So how to dispose of ammunition? First, you should determine if your old ammo actually needs to be disposed of as they have a fairly long shelf life. If they do pose a hazard, then here are some safe and legal ways for ammunition disposal. 

Contact Local Law Enforcement

How To Dispose Of Ammunition


The most feasible ways to disposing of unwanted ammunition is to contact the police or your local sheriff’s office. It is not a good idea to just show up with your old ammo, however. Make sure you call the non-emergency line of your local police department ahead of your visit.

If it is a small department, they may not be adequately equipped for old ammo disposal. In this case, the department should guide you in the right direction. If you have a huge amount of damaged ammunition, they might even offer to pick it up and take care of the rest. 

Take your old ammo to the Local Gun Range

How To Dispose Of bullets


You might have an old cartridge and now you want to know how to dispose of live ammo. A good option is taking it to the local gun store. Gun stores being a firearms facility, deal with tons of ammunition. They may help you send it back to the manufacturer for disposal or find access to a service that disposes of ammunition.

Many gun ranges accept unwanted ammo. They have a special container where you can dispose of ‘dud’ rounds. All quality gun ranges do contain a plan on how to dispose of old ammo, either by involving a local law enforcement agency or a recycling organization. Since the gun range already knows how to dispose of bullets or damaged ammo, you can probably trust your unwanted ammunition with them. However, if you have a large amount, you might need to make a call before loading it up on their dud bin.

Recycling Old Ammunition

Ammunition disposal


Even if your old firearms are corroded or damaged, you can still reuse most of the components. Recycling isn’t an option for everyone as it requires commitment and expertise to safe and correct reloading. 

You must be equipped with the right tools and have the determination to learn the identification of the rounds in an appropriate condition for reloading. Even if the ammo is damaged and corroded, you can still find some serviceable pieces for you for the reduction of waste.

Hazardous Waste Drop-Off

It is not recommended to just dump old ammo in the trash can. You may contact your local waste management department to find out how to dispose of old bullets or damaged ammunition. Most will give you a specific drop-off location or pick-up date for hazardous ammo. Many local waste management services do not accept ammunition to dispose of a regular basis. So, you may have to keep your unwanted ammunition for a while until a specific collection takes place.

Things to avoid

Here is what you should NOT DO while disposing of or getting rid of your unwanted ammunition

  • Do not bury your old ammo. However, gunpowder is an excellent fertilizer. Other components can be hazardous and pose a risk to the environment when buried.
  • Don’t toss it off in the trash can. You should adopt proper disposal methods instead of dumping your damaged ammo as it can be incredibly dangerous.


Gun owners need to ensure they act responsibly, specifically when it is about disposing of unwanted, old, or damaged ammunition. Appropriate discarding of corroded or hazardous rounds is just the right way for firearm owners to be upright representatives of the shooting sports.



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