Marine Flares (Single-Use Pyrotechnic)

Alternative ways to recycle
Hazardous Waste

FREE Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and Mattress Collection Event (Hercules, CA) – ONE DAY ONLY!

Saturday, June 22, 2024

More Info

Get Reminder


Pyrotechnic marine flares contain hazardous and toxic chemicals that pose risks to human health and the environment. These types of flares require special disposal and it is illegal to dispose of them in your trash. They are considered Hazardous Waste, but the RecycleMore permanent facilities do not collect them on a regular basis. Please do not bring them to a collection facility unless instructed to do so, for example during a special collection event. Free collection events for unwanted and expired flares will periodically be held for boaters and residents.

Visit for more information and to subscribe to a list serve to be notified about upcoming collection events.


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.

Toxic Symbol

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.

Did You Know?

Check the Expiration Date

Single-use pyrotechnic signal devices (including aerial flares and handheld signals) expire 42 months after the date of manufacture in accordance with the United States Coast Guard requirements, according to Orion Signals.

Learn About the Different Types of Marine Flares