Army Mission: Biodegradable Bullets

The quest for sustainable bullets that can also grow plants.


They don't get the attention of, say, soda cans or plastic bags. But that doesn't mean they aren't bad for the environment as well. 

Spent bullets, especially when fired en masse, often litter the landscape. Because it’s not easy to clean up these casualties, they are apparently left as is, despite the fact they contain metal and other chemicals that are prone to rust and can pollute nearby soil and ground water.

Recently, however, the Department of Defense has started to focus on correcting this problem, soliciting proposals for what is described as “biodegradable bullets" that would be loaded with seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants. The thinking is that the best options for such bullets would be the same biodegradable plastics used in the design of water bottles or plastic containers, although the DoD is open to other material options.

According to an article on LiveScience, the US Army Corps of Engineers’ research lab in charge of the project has already developed and tested seeds that could be embedded into biodegradable composites and left to germinate after being in the ground for a few months.


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