Never Throw in Garbage or Recycling
Marine flares are dangerous for sanitation workers to handle. Do not place in any of your curbside containers and treat as hazardous waste.
Never Dispose of in Lakes, Rivers or Oceans
Because they contain metals and toxic chemicals such as perchlorate, marine flares are illegal to dispose of in drains or bodies of water. The harmful chemicals can leach into drinking water supply and pose a threat to the environment and our health.
Handle with Care – Emergency Use Only
Flares with self-contained launchers should be treated like firearms. If misfired or improperly used, flares can cause fires or bodily injuries. Use only for emergency purposes. Store and transport with care when not in use.
Contact Law Enforcement
Marine flares generally cannot be disposed of with household hazardous waste because they are explosives and have their own set of regulations. Contact the police or fire department for further instructions.
Call the Department of Toxic Substances Control
Besides contacting the fire department, the California Coastal Commission also recommends contacting the DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances Control) hotline (800-728-6942) for assistance in finding disposal options for marine flares.
Alternative Ways to Recycle
Donate Expired Flares
Check with the Coast Guard Auxiliary to see if they are currently accepting expired flares for training purposes.
Ways to Reduce
Use Reusable Distress Signals
Consider using reusable electronic visual distress devices (eVDSDs) over single-use marine flares. EVDSDs do not expire and are Coast Guard-approved. More on this topic and other marine electronics can be found here.