According to a report by the Injury Prevention journal in 2005, approximately one billion disposable lighters are sold in the United States each year. These plastic lighters contain a flammable liquid that is hazardous when thrown away in the regular trash. Even if there is just a little bit of lighter fluid, or butane gas, left in the device, it can ignite in the right conditions. There are a few ways that you can dispose of the lighter, depending on whether its chamber still contains gas or not.
Empty the Lighter Fluid Before Disposing of the Lighter
The safest way to dispose of a disposable or an extended reach lighter is by getting rid of all of the fluid inside its chamber. Read the manufacturer's label to see if it mentions disposal instructions if you want to throw the item away with fluid still inside of it. If you want to throw the lighter away in your regular trash, you'll need to use up all of the fluid inside of it first. Opening the lighter and flushing the gas down the drain isn't recommended as it can be harmful to septic systems and the environment.
Disposing of a Fluid-Filled Lighter
If you want to get rid of a lighter that still has gas inside of it, you'll need to contact your city's hazardous waste department for instructions on how to do it. You can drop it off at the collection site, or your town or city may have a community hazardous waste collection day that is sponsored either by a local government agency or a private organization. Simply drop the lighter off at the specified location on the specified day, and it will be either be professionally disposed of or recycled.
Choose Other Types of Lighters
To avoid having to throw disposable lighters away in the future, consider using a refillable lighter or cardboard matches instead.