Goodbye, old bullets

There’s a place for old bullets and shotgun shells in Wilton.

It’s the Wilton Police Department, which deactivates old bullets and shells that are brought in by the public when people are cleaning out attics, basements and garages.

“We soak the bullets in water, for about a week,” said Lt. Robert Kluk, spokesman for the department.

After that, they are disposed of at the town’s transfer station.

Theoretically, bullet shells have scrap metal value because they are often made of brass. However, they are an environmental concern as well, because the projectiles themselves are often made of lead, and gunpowder is a volatile chemical mixture. So they require proper disposal.

Bullets turned in by the public could be useful to police to save money on ammunition for the practice range, but old bullets can lead to problems such as misfiring. So the police play it safe by disposing of them all.

The public is invited to bring old bullets and shells to headquarters at 240 Danbury Road at any time. Residents often do. The department destroys about 200 pounds of old public ammunition a year, Kluk said.

Call the police department ahead of time and let us know what you are bringing down. The officer will take your name and address down for the report and we will take it in. We do not take any explosives or anything that you think may be explosive in nature. If you find anything you feel may be dangerous and don’t want to touch, please call the police department and we will come out,” he said.

Not all surrounding towns take direct responsibility for disposing of old ammunition. In Ridgefield, police said they turn over old bullets and shells to the nearest state police barracks for destruction, and don’t handle it themselves.

Norwalk also does not handle the disposal themselves.  

“Most of the ammo turned in here in Norwalk is sent up to the Connecticut State Lab for destruction. We do on occasion keep and use turned in ammo, but only if it is factory new from a known individual or retailer,” said Officer Corey Vento of the Norwalk Police Training Unit.