How to Dispose of Used Matches?

Matches are one of the oldest tools for igniting a fire that is still in use today. Many bars, restaurants, and pubs still give out matchboxes as souvenirs. If you are a smoker, you may use them to light your cigarettes. If you are not, you may use them to light candles in the house or they may just collect dust in your kitchen drawer. 

Matches are a serious fire hazard, and their disposal is not talked about enough. Matches, even after being lit, can carry a chance of causing a fire. This can be potentially dangerous for your house, for the street side trash can, or the workers who work to collect garbage. 

This article will describe what the proper way of disposing of matches is, why improper disposal is dangerous, and whether matches are good for the environment.

How to dispose of used matches?

Used matches can be thrown into the trash only after it’s been soaked in water for a few seconds. This is because the matches are still capable of igniting after it’s been lit once. Soaking it in water ensures the match is completely inactivated before disposal. 

Of course, you do not have to throw out the matchsticks after using them. There are several ways you can make use of them even after lighting them. 

The first is to compost them, you can collect your matches and drop them off at your community composting center every month. Many centers accept matches. Matches, even with the brunt end can be composted. 

You can compost the matches yourself as well, you can do it either outdoors or indoors. Throw them in with newspapers and other compostable materials. 

The matchsticks contain phosphorus sulfide and potassium chlorate in the match heads, these chemicals are mixed in with powdered glass. The side of the matchbox contains powdered glass and phosphorus. Once the match is lit, the potassium chlorate is converted to potassium chloride. Both potassium chloride and phosphorus sulfide are great inorganic fertilizers. Making matches a great composting option. 

One other thing you can do is to collect matchsticks for a DIY project. It can either be your own or you can donate them to a local arts and crafts center or elementary school. This is a great way to reuse the matches. 

One creative way to use the matchsticks is to save them up for the next camping trip. Matches are mostly wood and will certainly burn if thrown into a campfire. Who knows, this may even save you some firewood.

The importance of disposing of matches properly:

You may think once a match is lit, it is no longer a fire hazard. This is a misconception, these matchsticks are a fire hazard. These may cause an accidental fire in your kitchen or the garbage truck.

It may even start a fire after it’s moved to the landfills. It is very important to dispose of them properly for these reasons. These fires can not only cause property damage for you or the city, it is also a risk to your health and anyone in the vicinity of the fire. 

Are matches friendly to the environment? 

Matches are biodegradable and compostable. They are made of wood and certainly better than plastic lighters. This by no means makes matches environmentally friendly, however. In the US alone, each year 500 billion matches are burned. This requires approximately half a million aspen trees to be cut down each year. 

This imposes a giant environmental burden and exacerbates deforestation. To make a sustainable future, we should switch to more sustainable options for lighting fires. 

One great option is using a rechargeable electric lighter, these last a long time and are usually made of metal, and can be recycled.

One other option is to use refillable gas lighters, these are also far longer lasting than most other options and will reduce the burden on the environment. 

Conclusion: 

Matches are a serious fire hazard, and their disposal is not talked about enough. Matches, even after being lit, can carry a chance of causing a fire. This can be potentially dangerous for your house, for the street side trash can, or the workers who work to collect garbage. 

This article describes what the proper way of disposing of matches is, why improper disposal is dangerous, and whether matches are good for the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Dispose of Used Matches

Can I throw used matches in the trash?

Yes, but first you need to deactivate it in water. Soak the match in water for a few seconds before throwing. 

Are matches biodegradable?

Yes, matches are made of wood and are thus biodegradable. 

Can I compost used matches?

Yes, matches are 100% compostable. You can compost them yourself indoors, outdoors in the garden, or donate them to a community garden or composting center. 

Are matches recyclable? 

No, matches are single-use. Even the wood is not recycled, because the burnt head of the match is going to affect the quality of the wood pulp. It is too cumbersome to remove the burnt end from each match, so it is not recycled. 

Are waterproof matches biodegradable? 

Yes, all matches have a wooden stick and are biodegradable. 

Are matches considered hazardous waste? 

No. In most cases, matches are not considered hazardous. It may even be dangerous to send matches to a hazardous chemicals collection plant. These places contain tons of extremely flammable liquids, sending a product that starts fire could be potentially lethal. 

Reference: 

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  6. Notification. (2022). Retrieved 6 February 2022, from https://photos.hgtv.com/photo/how-to-dispose-of-matches-properly
  7. Sundwal, M. (2022). Can You Compost Used Matches? (What To Do With It). Retrieved 6 February 2022, from https://savingliving.com/compost-used-matches/

  8. Are Matches Compostable? (And Are They Recyclable?) – Conserve Energy Future. (2022). Retrieved 7 February 2022, from https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/are-matches-compostable.php
  9. How to Downsize When You Don’t Want To | FlatRate Moving. (2022). Retrieved 7 February 2022, from https://www.flatrate.com/blog/moving-tips-how-to-get-rid-of-hard-to-throw-away-items/
  10. Lighters Or Matches? Which Is Better For The Planet? | 1 Million Women. (2022). Retrieved 7 February 2022, from https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/lighters-or-matches-which-better-planet/



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