Latest BioAmmo News
Jan 25, 2021
BioAmmo aims to make 50m of its plastic-free, biodegradable cartridges this year Shotgun cartridges often have a plastic casing and plastic wadding. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Shotgun cartridges often have a plastic casing and plastic wadding. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto Mon 25 Jan 2021 00.00 EST One day a little over 12 years ago a Spanish entrepreneur, Enrique López-Pozas, was playing Airsoft when he was struck not by an opponent’s shot but by an equally uncomfortable realisation. What, he wondered, would become of all the little plastic pellets being fired? And, come to that, what about all the shotgun cartridges discarded by hunters and sports shooters around the world? Born into a military family, López-Pozas grew up around weapons. And in his former career as the head of a hotel chain he saw the scale of plastic use and the pollution it causes. “I realised we were leaving plastic in the environment that would remain there for ever,” he says. “And I realised we needed something biodegradable or we’d be storing up problems for the future. So I set about studying things.” After more than decade of research and development, López-Pozas’s company, BioAmmo , created 100% plastic-free, biodegradable and bio-compostable shotgun cartridges that are now sold in more than 20 countries. The traditional plastic casing and plastic wadding – the layer that separates the powder from the shot – have been replaced with a vegetable biopolymer, and the metal base is a non-toxic alloy of copper and zinc designed to oxidise and disappear. Customers can choose lead or steel shot. “Our cartridges’ uniqueness is that they are completely plastic-free,” says Peter Chatland, BioAmmo’s head of international markets. “This obviously has important consequences for environmental sustainability across all shooting disciplines and sectors. For example: no plastic to contaminate the planet for hundreds of years, no microplastics to enter the food chain and no plastic to add to landfill.” Chatland says relatively few of the hundreds of millions of single-use plastic cartridge cases shot each year are recycled, and fibre wads can end up polluting the countryside as they often contain bitumen and plastic. He says BioAmmo’s cartridges, which hold a patent in 55 countries, can be consumed by micro-organisms in the soil within a year or two, thrown on a compost heap or added to organic domestic rubbish. The firm employs almost 30 people at its factory 12 miles from the city of Segovia, and it is hoping to hire more staff when the pandemic slows. “After 12 years of research and finally taking the decision to bring the products to the market, we ended up doing so in a year that was the worst for everyone,” says López-Pozas.