Can You Recycle Lighters? (And Ways to Reuse Old Lighters)

Starting a fire has always evolved since we all learned that the first human being discovered fire. First, it started with forcing two stones against each other to produce a spark on some dry leaves. Then it evolved over the years. Now, we can start a fire with a match or a lighter.

While both matchstick and lighter are effective for starting a fire, it appears that lighter is the popular one. The reason for this is not farfetched. Lighters are safer to use and last longer than matchsticks.

However, beyond this usage advantage, you have to consider the environmental implications. This is important for us to determine what contributions lighters make to the environment.

In this post, we have considered this question. We first considered if lighters are recyclable, then we considered their effects on the environment and whether there’s an alternative. Finally, we considered what else you could do with old lighters.

Come with us to gain insight.

Are Lighters Recyclable?

With the way people use lighters these days, you wonder where all the used lighters go. As someone who is concerned about the environment, the question that pops up is whether lighters are recyclable.

Many household items are recyclable, but lighters do not seem to be part of them. The reason for this is not farfetched. Lighters comprise many items and materials. For instance, in a typical lighter, you will find plastic materials and metal materials.

Thus, it would be difficult to recycle lighters because of the likely impossibility of separating the materials.

Many recycling centers around the country have issued their stance on recycling lighters. Though it is a common household item, recycling centers advise that you don’t put lighters in your recycling bin.

Besides, almost all the lighters are materials that are not fit for the recycling machine. Thus, recyclers do not consider lighters as recyclables.

Putting lighters in your recycling bin is like wasting your time and creating more recycling companies’ problems.

There are other ways to get rid of your used lighters. You can also use your lighters to do different things. Later in this article, we explain many of these things.

Are Lighters Bad For The Environment?

This question seems to be what comes up next after you learn that lighters are not recyclable. You begin to wonder if lighters are anyway bad for the environment since they are disposable. Well, let’s consider this.

Let’s first emphasize that lighters are one-time materials. This means that you almost don’t have anything to do with the empty lighter once you have exhausted the gas. The implication of this is that you throw them away if you can’t refill them.

When you throw them away, where do they go? Unlike matches that are wood materials, lighters are a mixture of different materials, including plastic and metal. While the metal materials on the lighter may be biodegradable over time, the plastic material is not.

Plastic materials take hundreds of years before they biodegrade. Even after they break down, they do not completely leave the earth’s surface. Rather, they reduce into microplastics, which mix with the soil and remain there for years too.

When you toss your lighters in the waste bin, there is only one place they end up. And that is at the local landfills. Given their plastic materials, they do not decompose. They remain there for a long time.

When it rains, the flood might wash them off to different places. For instance, they may end up in the sea. Here, different aquatic animals can consume them. And, what’s worse, the aquatic animals can die from the consumption of these unsafe materials.

Apart from this, when they end up in the sea or any other places, they contaminate the place. This means the sea and the immediate environment is getting unsafe for all of us.

Another angle to consider is the production process of these lighters. During their production process, many greenhouse gases get into the environment. It contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer, which causes a terrible change in the climate.

Also, the packaging materials of these lighters are another concern for the environment. Many packaging materials are from plastic. Again, that is a negative for the environment as plastics do not decompose in years.

What Are More Environmentally Friendly Lighters?

From above, you have discovered that aside from the ease that lighter offers you, they probably don’t have other benefits. The next thing in your mind is to scout for other alternatives to lighters.

Well, we are here to tell you to save yourself the stress. We have done the job for you. Below, we have told you the alternative you can find to lighters.

1. Matches

Matches are a better replacement for lighter. The good news is that it is more friendly to the environment.

Matches are plant materials. The matchstick comes from wood. The effect of this is that when you use your matches and throw them away, they don’t constitute a nuisance to the environment. Because they come from wood, they don’t take time to biodegrade. Within some months, they have decomposed completely. They even nourish the soil since they are plant materials.

Also, the packaging materials of matches are paper. Papers are also another environmentally friendly material. They decompose within weeks and don’t cause problems to the environment.

All these show that when it comes to environmental concerns, matches are a better replacement for lighters.

2. Firesteel

Firesteel is another new development that can replace lighters. Firesteels work like matches. You have two materials, and you have to glide one over the other to create a spark.

For the fire steel, you have the striker who is like the matchstick. You also have what functions like a matchbox known as a magnesium rod. To create a spark, you will have to glide the small striker over the much longer magnesium rod.

The environmental benefit of this is that both items of the firesteel are from steel materials. The fun part is that the firesteel is reusable. It is the imitation of the old age method of using two stones to start a fire.

If they end up in the waste bin, you have nothing much to fear. For steel material, rust would eventually set in, and they would break down into the environment.

3. Rechargeable Lighters

This is an advanced version of the common lighter. And, like every advanced object, they would be better than the previous one. Hence, in all circumstances, the rechargeable lighter beats the ordinary lighter from the environmental perspective.

As it is obvious from its name, you can charge these advanced lighters. This means that you can use it for a longer period. All you have to do is keep recharging it. It is also safer than an ordinary lighter.

These are the objects you can use to replace lighters. They are all friendly to our environment, and we hope that you find them useful.

Is It Okay To Throw Away a Lighter?

Throwing away things that we don’t consider useful is the first thing we think of. This may sound like the right thing to do, but you are mistaken.

When it comes to lighter, you should not throw it away carelessly. If disposing of your lighter is what you want, you must do it the right way too.

The reason for this is simple. When you carelessly throw away lighters, they will end up in places they are not supposed to. This would cause some environmental hazards. Kids in the neighborhood could also pick them up and cause a fire with them. So, the proper thing to do is to dispose of the lighters correctly. Let’s look at how to do this.

1. Confirm If you Can Throw Away Your Lighters: This sounds funny, but that’s the way it is. Not all states in America want you to dispose of your lighters. This is because of the potential environmental hazards. So, the best thing to do is to confirm the stance of your state.

If the law permits it, you can go ahead and dispose of it in the waste bin. If the law does not permit, there would most likely be a collection program for the used lighters. You can follow up on this and inform the authorities of your intention to dispose of your lighters.

2. Burn The Remaining Gas: most people don’t finish up the gas in the lighter before throwing it away. Sometimes, it might be that at a certain level, the lighter has stopped functioning. So, they have no choice but to dispose of it.

Whichever way, it is better to burn the remaining gas before disposing of the lighter. This is important to avoid any unplanned environmental hazards.

4 Clever Ways To Reuse Old Lighters

There seems not to be anything else around that people don’t put to a different creative use. All that it takes is your willingness to deploy your creativity.

For old lighters, you don’t have to let them litter your home or offices; you can put them to creative use to.  Below are the different ways you can do that.

1. Secret case

We both know that you are not a secret agent, but there are things you might want to keep to yourself in public. These things could be letters, cash, or even your medication. With an old lighter, you can create that secret case to carry your items around. The fun part of it is that no one would know it is a secret case.

The way to do this is simple. Get an old lighter that is not transparent. Remove the top to gain access to the interior. Next, you should wash the interior and let it dry. You can then put whatever you want to keep secret in the lighter.

After this, cover it back and go wherever you want to go. The highlight is that no one would suspect that what you have is not a lighter but a secret safe.

2. Bottle opener

Who says you can’t use lighters as bottle openers? All you have to do is get a metal lighter and immediately place the bottom below the bottle cap. Press down your thumb on the bottle cap and push the lighter up to open the bottle. This is quite easy to do, but it may take you some time to master it.

3. Earring

If you are the fashionable type, you should consider making your lighter into a fancy earring. For this, you have to deploy your creativity. What you need is a small-sized lighter. This would not make them heavy on your ear. You would also need the earring string to attach to the small-sized lighter.

With this, you can rock a good earring.

4. Decoration

If you have an event coming up, you can use your lighters for decorations. The way to do this is simple. Get some spray paints and design the lighters. Next, you will need some strings to suspend the lighters in the air.

Ensure that your designs are very creative to bring out the beauty in your decorations.


Lighters are one of the common items used by many people. As a user, you don’t have to wait for it to constitute waste before dealing with it. You have just read what you can do with these lighters. You can go ahead and have fun with the lighters, but always be environmentally conscious.

Share on:

About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.