According to a solicitation from the Department of Defense, the U.S. military is looking for a company to get to work on creating ammunition that is not only biodegradable, but also contains seeds.
The problem they're looking to overcome is how regular bullets can become pollutants. Casings and sabot petals can be come lodged in the ground, or left behind causing the chemicals to damage the soil and nearby water sources. Furthermore, when farmers or construction crews work the soil they can sometimes come across them in dangerous ways, causing injury due to a machine kicking them up.
So, the answer lies in creating ammo that biodegrade naturally.
The solution sought by this topic is naturally occurring biodegradable material to replace the current training round materials, eliminating environmental hazards. This SBIR will prove out the technology and replace current training round components with biodegradable parts. The biodegradable materials identified can be utilized by private industry to manufacture biodegradable water bottles, plastic containers, or any other composite or plastic product(s) on the market today.
But they wish to go a step further. Once it degrades, it leaves behind a bioengineered seed that will grow into a plant after a few months. This plant's entire purpose is to eat up any pollutants left behind by the round.
The US Army Corps of Engineers' Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) has demonstrated bioengineered seeds that can be embedded into the biodegradable composites and that will not germinate until they have been in the ground for several months. This SBIR effort will make use of seeds to grow environmentally friendly plants that remove soil contaminants and consume the biodegradable components developed under this project. Animals should be able to consume the plants without any ill effects.
It should be noted that this project is limited to training rounds used in allied areas, as the military is not interested in messing with actual ammunition used on our enemies.