How do you dispose of empty cigarette lighters?

United States
June 30, 2008 3:20pm CST
A friend of mine told me that he throws his cigarette lighters in the trash to dispose of them. And since I don't smoke, I don't have any knowledge of how others do this. Is it safe to throw a lighter in the trash? Won't that catch something on fire, assuming the container is pierced or comes into contact with fire? What's the safe procedure for disposing of a lighter or matches? Where do you throw them away? Would that be considered hazardous waste?
7 people like this
18 responses
@katsmeow1213 (24925)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I have always thrown them in the trash. They're pretty much empty of lighter fluid by the time you go to throw it out, and even if they are pierced, there needs to be a spark in order for it to catch fire. I'm sure if it were considered a hazardous waste I would have heard of that by now.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jul 08
OK! I guess that makes sense. I will go with that idea.
• United States
1 Jul 08
I just toss mine in the trash and haven't had any problems. I am very nervous about fires as well, but it's apparently safe to just trash them.
• United States
1 Jul 08
I just worry, you know? Maybe I worry too much. But can one ever worry too much? I lost everything in a fire once, and I'm not looking forward to that experience again.
@Tianna2 (1276)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I normally use refillable lighters, but I have used disposable lighters in the past. When I do, I try my best to make sure they are thoroughly spent. I guess there could be some residual butane in them but as soon as it comes into contact with open air it dissipates almost immediately, so I doubt there is much environmental harm. Also, there is no chance of it starting a fire unless someone threw a full lighter in the trash. As for environmental hazards, the plastic issue will always be a problem, but as long as we purchase everything disposable, that's just going to keep getting worst. Its not just smokers causing this problem. Cheers, Tianna
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jul 08
Isn't it the truth!
@lilybug (21183)
• United States
30 Jun 08
We do not have trash pick up. Whatever cannot be recycled goes in the burn barrel outside. I rarely use lighters, so it is not really an issue for me, but when I finish off an aerosol can I puncture it before throwing it in so it does not explode.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jul 08
I've never really known how to dispose of cans.
@magrylouyu (1633)
• United States
30 Jun 08
I just throw them in the trash. I actually had one shatter in my pocket and freaked a lil bit. But so many people told me it's no big deal and that it wont even smell like anything and sure enough just an hour later i took my jeans off and smelt the inside of my pocket and it didnt smell any different. I highly doubt is a danger to throw them in the garbage.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jun 08
OK! Just wondering. I was worried. I don't smoke either. But sometimes I do use a lighter for candles and our oil lamp when the power goes out. Way more convenient than using matches. Though I do use matches, too!
@minnie_98214 (10575)
• United States
30 Jun 08
You know im not sure. We are not smokers but we do use a lighter for candles. We will just throw ours in the fire outside when empty or broken. Sometimes it will explode but its small and hurts no one. Probly not the right way but its our way lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jul 08
Then I guess it's probably a safe enough way to dispose of them. Just wondering. Thanks!
• Australia
2 Jul 08
My mum smokes,i never have and i dont think i would want too. She will put them in a box that she is throwing away and put them in the outside bin(she only does this if she knows there totally out of fluid or gas) Other than this my dad gets rid of them at work in the big bin.
@taface412 (3179)
• United States
30 Jun 08
Well, I assume it is safe since they are disposable and they are empty....never thought much about it. Usually when I throw mine out they are out of butane...so I don't worry about all that.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Jul 08
they should be safe if they're empty.i usually throw them in a coffee can and close the lid anyway before i throw them out.matches i'd definetly put into something just in case the bag gets torn open so kids won't find them (hopefully).
• United States
2 Jul 08
The kid issue is a big deal for me, too! I'm always worried that my daughter will start digging through stuff. You can never tell with young children.
1 person likes this
• China
1 Jul 08
I don't smoke.So i have no chance to throw'em haha.
• Australia
2 Jul 08
It is true, if you don't smoke ciggarettes you dont really have much of a chance to have anything to do with a lighter. Non-smokers usually use matches to light candles and such I have found.
@agihcam (1916)
• Philippines
30 Jun 08
Yeah and it is dangerous to throw the empty lighters into trash can. Because even though it is empty, it may still explode and cause damage to people. I preferred to put it on the hazardous waste together with batteries.
• United States
1 Jul 08
I have always thought that might be true. But everyone seems to think it's OK to throw them out in the trash. I'm still confused. But I won't be throwing mine in the trash anymore. Too risky. Don't need a fire.
@kenzie45230 (3563)
• United States
30 Jun 08
Interesting question. Most disposable lighters I've seen, when they appear to be empty, they're empty. I doubt they could start a fire. But...like someone else pointed out, it's the plastic we're all throwing away that we should really worry about.
• United States
1 Jul 08
The whole thing is a big deal!
@chrislotz (8209)
• Canada
26 Aug 08
I am a smoker and I have always just thrown them in the garbage also. I have smoked for over 35 years and I have never had a fire happen because of throwing them in the garbage. I don't think they can start a fire or they wouldn't be allowed to be sold. I have thrown my used lighter into the fire when we are camping expecting it to explode but never has. I don't know why they don't but I do know they don't as I have dome this at least 100 times over the last 35 years plus and have never had an explosion.
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
2 Jul 08
I've thrown mine away for as long as I can remember and never have known any harm to come from it. Unless I know otherwise, I'll keep doing the same. The lighter container is empty and is why it gets thrown away so I don't think there's any hazard to be worried about but I could be wrong.
• Australia
2 Jul 08
It has been seven years since I have smoked! - yay Back in the day I would just throw them in the garbage bin. I figured since they wouldn't light anymore and there was no more lighter fluid in them that it would be safe - but now you have me thinking - hrmm!
@irishidid (8105)
• United States
1 Jul 08
In the trash.
@ellie333 (21030)
30 Jun 08
If the lighter is empty I don't really see how it can cause a problem it would only be flammable with gas still in it but I really don't know on this or what is a safe way to dispose of. Ellie :D
• Australia
30 Jun 08
I throw them in the trash, I have never seen any guidelines for disposing of them safely.
@babystar1 (4236)
• United States
30 Jun 08
Just put them in the trash, that all my hubby does. He never had a problem doing that. Been doing that for years.