How to Dispose of Black Powder

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Always dispose of gunpowder properly.
Always dispose of gunpowder properly. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Black powder –– also known as gunpowder –– is live ammunition and shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. Neutralize your gunpowder when you dispose of it or contact the proper waste disposal facility. Black powder is more volatile than smokeless gunpowder, so don’t set a match to it when you’re trying to get rid of it. It can cause an explosion and injure you or others. Many waste facilities accept gunpowder and dispose of it properly, but avoid a trip and consider other options first.

Post a sign at a local shooting range or gun shop and mention that you have black powder to dispose. Give a contact number or email for a person to respond and claim the powder.

Sprinkle black powder in your yard and immediately water the ground where you put it. It acts as a fertilizer and is good for your plants.

Call your local landfill or Department of Public Works and ask where you can legally dispose of black powder.

Bring the black powder to the disposal site in its container and give it to an employee.

Tips & Warnings

  • According to the University of Utah's Firearms Tutorial, "Gunpowder, made of a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter (potassium nitrite), owes its explosive force to the fact that 1 mole of solid powder will, when ignited, produce 6 moles of gas." (REF 3)

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