Florida ammo amnesty cuts hazardous waste risk

Think of awkward household waste in the UK and batteries and medicines spring to mind - across the Atlantic they have other problems.

Environmental regulators in Florida have hosted an event to collect unwanted ammunition to ensure it is disposed of in a safe and responsible manner.

Dumping ammo in an uncontrolled way can contaminate land as well as presenting a health risk.

The state's Department of Environmental Protection teamed up with other concerned partners this week, collecting over 530 pounds of ammunition old or unwanted ammunition in Tampa.

"Improper disposal of ammunition has potential environmental, health and safety risks," said Mary Jean Yon, director of DEP's Division of Waste Management.

"This event made it easy for hunters and other residents to safely remove potentially dangerous ammunition from their homes and prevent it from ending up in Florida's landfills."

A statement from the department said that the proper disposal of old or unwanted ammunition can save lives by preventing it from getting into the hands of young children and can also help protect the environment by keeping lead and other contaminants from seeping into the groundwater.

Items that were collected included shotgun shells, bullets, flares and gun powder.

The event has now been running for four years and was the brain child of Gene Jones, Executive Director of Southern Waste Information eXchange who first proposed holding a collection event in 2005 in Tallahassee, after he was unable to find a place to properly and safely dispose of some old ammunition he had in his home.

"I realised that a mechanism is needed where people can dispose of old and unwanted ammunition in an appropriate manner," he said.

"We have experienced a lot of success over the last three years, collecting nearly 5,000 pounds of old and/or unwanted ammunition in just Tallahassee alone. We were pleased to be able to provide this collection event in the Tampa area with funding assistance from DEP."

David Gibbs


| hazardous waste


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