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Disposable lighters are designed to be thrown away after use. When this happens, they will exist in our environment forever. After use, disposable lighters will either end up in landfill, be littered on the streets or get washed up into the ocean, and devastatingly can make their way into the bellies of seabirds and other animals. It is estimated that 90 percent of seabirds have consumed plastic.
Unlike lighters, matches are made from wood and are fully biodegradable. Being biodegradable matches to not contribute to our growing world waste problem. However, their production comes with a different set of environmental issues.
Usually made from pine or aspen, the un-sustainable production of matches contributes to the destruction of forests. An average aspen tree can create 1 million matches. While this might sound like a lot, when you multiply this by the number of matches being used each year, it becomes quite a big number. It is estimated that 500 billion matches are used each year in the US alone. This would equate to 500 thousand average sized Aspen trees being cut down just to meet the demands of the US market. Worldwide, this figure is likely to be much larger. According to the World Health Organisation, it’s estimated that 15 billion cigarettes are smoked every day worldwide. If every smoker were to light their cigarettes using matches, this would equate to about 15,000 Aspen trees being cut down every single day.
What are the sustainable fire lighting options?
Ferro Rods / Fire Steels
Depending on your requirements, ferro rods are the perfect solution. Unlike matches ferro rods do not break or require fuel making them extremely reliable. They are 100% water and wind-proof and will create fire at all altitudes. A single ferro rod, such as our Beast Fire Starter can have up to 20,000 strikes. Imagine how many matches you would need to create 20,000 fires! Check out our range of ferro rods here. Although, if you require an immediate naked flame for lighting a cigarette for example, ferro rods might not be the best option.
Unlike fire-steels rechargeable Lighters require a bit of electricity. Unlike gas lighters, they can be used 200-300 times before being recharged. They are flameless so are safer than gas lighters or matches and can be charged by USB. They are easy to use and work just by clicking a button. This activates a small electrical arc between two ceramic electrodes, creating a point at which you can light a candle, cigarette or fire.
Refillable Gas Lighter
While these are not the perfect solution, refillable gas lighters are a sustainable alternative to gas lighters. They are usually made from brass and can be reused, often lasting a lifetime. Like gas lighters, refillable lighters use butane, a chemical compound which is produced during natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Butane is manufactured from finite recourses that need to be extracted from the earth. This process of extraction can cause contamination to water and human health.