With the ammo shortage that will extend into to the end of 2021 and likely beyond, millions of shooters and hunters are having to dig deep in their basements and gun cabinets to come up with a few boxes of cartridges to use. Cartridges that might be 5, 10 or more years old.

As long as old ammo is stored properly it will generally be good for many years. But sometimes old cartridges can corrode and should not be fired, but rather discarded. Or maybe you’re moving or simply cleaning out your hunting/shooting room, and have boxes and loose rounds of old ammunition that you don’t feel comfortable using.

Never throw old ammunition out in the trash, or in the woods, or bury it. Rather, here are 4 ways to dispose of it properly:

Shooting Range: If you use a commercial range or shooting club near home, check and see if they have a collection box or barrel for “dud” rounds and damaged cartridges. Many ranges, especially those where local police and deputies shoot and train a lot, have bad ammo collection boxes, which are picked up and disposed of properly and legally by law enforcement.

Gun Store: Like ranges, gun shops handle huge volumes of ammunition of all types, and have procedures for disposing of old or damaged stuff. Drop by a shop and ask if they can help you get rid of your old ammo. If you know somebody who works there, you’ll have a much better shot at getting assistance.

Landfill (Hazardous Waste Collection Only): You can never legally take old ammunition to a city or county dump and throw it out with your house trash, but most landfills have some type of hazardous waste site that might take ammunition. Call ahead to see if a landfill will take your ammo, and when. Most hazardous sites are open only on select weekdays or maybe one Saturday a month.

Local Police or Sheriff Department: Call a local office (not 911, but a general number) and ask if they will take old ammo off your hands and dispose of it properly. If so, they’ll probably send an officer or deputy to your house to collect it for proper disposal. Don’t go walking into a sheriff’s office with a bag full of ammo unless they tell you to.