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 Post subject: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 6:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2002 9:35 am
Posts: 1506
Does anybody on the forum have any ideas about recycling the hulls of shotgun shells, besides, reloading.

Clubs shoot from 250,000 to one million rounds per year, and, maybe, 25% are reloaded? Lot of empties going to landfill.

Shred, melt plastic, etc....any ideas...any websites dealing with this issue?


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 8:14 am 
We just dump all the trash in one big pile and burn it. All thats left are the metal parts to throw away.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 8:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:11 pm
Posts: 246
Remington,

I have been tyring to figure out how to make shotgun shell recycling work for several months now...The problems I have found to date are 1) You have to seperate the metal base from the hull. I have found no easy way to do this. 2) For the shells that have a fiber base wad, you not only have to seperate the base but also the wad material. 3) Assuming you can figure out how to do the above efficiently, the plastic recyclers I have talked to won't touch them until you have accumulated about 15,000 pounds of "clean" plastic (no metal or foreign materials). The shells are made of HDPE plastic that is readily recycled but the logistics and costs are daunting.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 12:35 pm 
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cottage industry. go buy a couple million feet of white Christmas lights, make those strings of lights with shotgunshells so popular in campgrounds and sell them through SGW (giving the site a nice cut of the gross of course).

I WAS ONLY TRYING TO HELP!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2002 9:35 am
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Shotgunner: Yes, the fiber wads do seem to be a problem. However, I wonder, if we are not traveling down the wrong path.

Within seven or eight years, all industries and businesses will be forced to recycle. I am trying to see if there isn't a cottage industry that couldn't be created at the gun club to deal in thier own waste.

A shredder is a low-maintenance machine, and it could pulverize the shells so that they could be stored in 50 gallon barrels. An extractor could take out the metal without any problem. However, you would still be left with some of the shells having fiber.

Would it be possible to shred, and convert back to fence posts, and leave the metal and fiber right in the post?

It's like with the clays. The larger clubs are throwing 190 short ton of clay per annum. Is it possible to create a mini-clay manufacturing facility right at the club?

Back in the old days, they used to have rather ingenous ways to catch clays that haden't been shot, and old timers tell me that they recycled about 10% of clays thrown. At even a small club like ours that is about 312 cases of clays, but on larger courses it is about 1900 cases per annum. The clays were sold as recycled clays to hardware stores and sold to members for hand machines.

I understand that there is a category of licensing called "commercial reloader", and some of the clubs, reportedly, are paying their members in rounds (script for shooting) and reloading and all shells shot on the range must be reloaded. However, I have, yet, personally, to find such a club...all stories. I do feel that this is one of the answers to the problem, i.e., member reloading and commercial reloading, which decminates the shell waste, literally, almost by a factor of 10.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:11 pm
Posts: 246
Remington,

I'm not sure that I would shoot reloads that someone else has put together. As far as clubs reloading, the liability issues are far greater than I would imagine any insurer would be willing to underwrite. On the recycling front, I suspect that it would take several clubs combining efforts to make the recycling work. It would take more than 1 million shells to add up to 15,000 pounds for a recycler to take. Assuming the club receives $.08 per pound thats only $1,200. There aren't many clubs that shoot that much.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 7:18 am 
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Shogunner: What you are describing, i.e., the consequences of acting now, or, perhaps, better stated, the reality of acting now, seems unreasonable compared to the financial consequences, like only receiving $1200 for 1 million shells. More importantly, you can't receive $1200 (this is not a reasonable expectation), because there is fiber in the shells. So it is something talked about, but it cannot happen. It's a fixation with a style of recycling that ranges have to stop talking about, as in comparing to how you recycle pop cans.
Further, you brought up another good point that stops a lot of good recycling efforts, and that is the idea of several shooting clubs joining forces. This is an effort of cooperation that won't happen now, and is a waste of time for a club serious about recycling.

In my own thinking, I have been seriously influenced by the commercial recyclers. A car recycles after 175,000 miles, and about 90 per cent of a car recycles. The point here is that the recycling happens AFTER the useful life.

The point a commercial recycler would make is that a shotgun shell should not be shredded after one use, but should only be recycled after its useful life, which would be about 9 reloads. They would, also, make the point that it is best for the marketplace to take care of the recycling.

There are some clubs that do 100% recycling on shells, and they require AA grade shells to be shot and hulls left and all shells are purchased from the club. The hulls are picked on the range and sold. Members can reload, and can pick-up their own shells,

Commercial reloading insurance is not an expensive proposition and is consistent with any business insurance for a product. However, again, I wonder if the reality is there. If you had five clubs producing 1 million hulls a year that is only 4000 cases of shells...hardly worth starting machines in a reloading plant. It is just too many people to talk into doing something!!

The only workable solution I have seen so far is to collect and sell reloadable shells. All other shells would have to be shredded on location, and, then, sold to not recycler, but an end user like for fence posts, where the fiber and metal is a strengthening agent. However, is that a reality? Can a fence post plant process plastic with metal and fiber in it?

This is a huge issue in about seven years, and is already an issue in some counties in California and Arizona.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 7:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 9:29 pm
Posts: 185
Location: Texas
Another possibility----

The shotgun shells are generally made of HDPE. Both it and the fiber burns with quite a bit of energy release. If you could cut them into fine particles it would make good fuel for a electrical generating company that burns solids (coal). The metal could be recovered from the ash.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 1:30 pm 
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Location: Houston, Texas
You could line them up individually and use them as insolation in a house. Time consuming but might work!!!

Just kidding.

My local range sorts them and resells them to the reloaders. Give that a try.

Nick

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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:02 pm
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So I'll start by saying I realize that this process is rather time consuming...

However, being the recycle nut I've been told I am, I hate throwing things away when I know they can be recycled.

The easiest way I've found to remove the metal base is heat. I take a propane torch, meat the base for ~10 seconds, grab the base with a pair of pliers, and pull it and the plastic apart. Most of the bases are steel coated with brass, so they just go to the scrap metal box at work. If your not sure, you can always take a magnet to it. If it sticks, its steel, if not its brass. Brass is worth more, so I hold on to it and take it to a metal recyclers for a little cash. If you don't want to collect the steel bases to take them to a scrape yard, talk to your recycling center. They may let you throw them in with the steel cans.

As mentioned above, the hulls are HDPE plastic, or #2. You'll have to speak with each recycling center, but the center where I take my household recyclables said they are ok with me throwing them in with the rest of the plastic. If your center isn't, they may let you do something else, or point you somewhere you can take them. It shouldn't be too difficult to find somewhere to take them, but I have no idea how hard it would be to find somewhere to by them.

As for those pesky fiber basewads, I took those shells and ran a razor blade all the way down on side. Then you can "unroll" the case and pop the wad out. Again, I talked to my recycling center, and they said I can throw them in with the cardboard.

So like I said... pretty labor intensive, and since I take metal to work, I don't make any $$ from it. But it is nice to know that I've recycled instead of trashed. If anyone is interested in more detail or some picture of this, let me know, I'd be happy to share.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:38 am
Posts: 47
My prototype processing flow looks like this:

shell sorter to orient shells base down and also sort out LOADED shells which I have found a few times.

This step has lot of room for improvement, it is hard to quickly orient and sort shells by gauge reliably given that some are flat from having been stepped on, and various degrees of dirt/crud.

then pop the primer so you can then separate the brass bases from the steel, this step has the side benefit of isolating the primer which could be considered by some offices/organizations to be "hazardous waste".

I then sort by "color" to try and separate the brass bases by manufacturer - these are to be resold for reloading (but only after I grab the STS hulls for myself ...)

the steel bases shells continue to another "color" separation process which is not very reliable, but the intent is to separate gunclub hulls that have some reloading value to be resold.

The balance of the shells move to a final station and mechanically have their base removed. Have not addressed the separation of fiber interior bases from the plastic hull just yet.

This whole process is pretty darn hard to automate, if the hulls were straight form the gun, it would be doable, but when they sit on the ground/mud, get squished, sit in trash barrels with assorted garbage it makes the process REAL hard.

My next spin at a solution is moving away from an "processing flow" solution and more toward individual processing "stations" executing in parallel but each under local control by a system with enough mips to handle the control but also some simple image processing for sorting by symmetry, gauge, brand, etc..

Still not sure if there is a business model here, but if there is I would guess it revolves around selling the reloadable shells.

If all the shells were manufactured with brass bases it may be feasible, but given most are steel, and the economics of recycling prices, making this a business based on recycling the raw materials would be tough.

Another issue is the logistics of gathering the shells, do you have a collections stations per region and gather the shells that manner or have individual stations at the bigger clubs? In either case it can get expensive unless the cost can be shared.

One possible approach would be to have the processor travel to the various big shoots, but that would miss a lot of material ending up in land fills.

If anyone wants to help, let me know. I have been working on this problem for a few months and am in the middle of switching approaches and getting my cnc mill retrofit completed so I can build another prototype or two or three...

One final thought, shot reclaiming IMHO has a lot more upside than this, that issue is likely to really impact our sport in the long run. If that problem can be refined beyond today's existing solutions you may have something "interesting".

AD


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:41 pm 
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I buy Winchester AA's, save them, and pass them onto somebody that reloads. I figure the best way to recycle is reuse.

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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Jeff, I agree with your thinking except.....any reloader will tell you that sooner or later, the hulls useful life is gone and they must be thrown away. Sooner or later they all wind up in the trash. AAs probably quicker than Remington because Winchester hulls are inferior.

The "Euro-trash" hulls (Rio, Fiocchi, and virtually any other except Remington, some Winchesters and some Federals) rarely get reused at all because they simply don't perform well. These hulls also, I'm guessing, make up the vast majority of the ammo shot today.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a reloader, do it all winter long, but because of the above and a ton of other reasons, not the least of which is liability, I just don't see reloading as the answer to this perceived (by some) problem.

KK

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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:06 pm
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RemingtonII wrote:
Within seven or eight years, all industries and businesses will be forced to recycle. I am trying to see if there isn't a cottage industry that couldn't be created at the gun club to deal in thier own waste.


Zombie thread rising from the dead!

Can't help pointing out that the above prediction hasn't panned out. I'm not aware of any nationwide push to recycle spent shotgun hulls. I hope RemingtonII didn't go into the phophet business full time.

Altho it does seem wasteful, the landfill is probably the best solution to the "what to do with spent hulls" question.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:31 pm 
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Clayshutr wrote:
Jeff, I agree with your thinking except.....any reloader will tell you that sooner or later, the hulls useful life is gone and they must be thrown away. Sooner or later they all wind up in the trash.

Eventually, yes. But why not reuse it a half dozen times before you send it through the separation process. And hey, I don't know if it a real problem either, but it makes me feel better that they're not going to waste.

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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:49 am 
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why would you attempt to recycle something that was designed to be economically disposable? seems like you should be looking where the money is: the shot. and while you're focused on screwing around with a million hulls a year, aren't you missing out on the billion empty water bottles per day market? good luck with it


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:10 am 
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MarlandS wrote:
cottage industry. go buy a couple million feet of white Christmas lights, make those strings of lights with shotgunshells so popular in campgrounds and sell them through SGW (giving the site a nice cut of the gross of course).

I WAS ONLY TRYING TO HELP!! :D

Been Done!

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Sportsma ... mas+lights

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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:49 pm 
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i just put mine in the bin, and let the dusbin men take them.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:08 am 
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The answer lies in not the ability to recycle them but in the refining of more organic biodegradable plastics at economical prices. Corn plastic hull and wad, plus a steel head and we have a biodegradable hull that has a life span of 4-5 years left out in the elements. Limiting factor is the cost of the material.


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 Post subject: Re: Recycling shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Paper hulls.only the base to recycle

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