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Are Matches Eco-Friendly?

As simple as it gets, matches are basically a wooden tool that is used to start a fire. Mostly made of wooden sticks but you can also find them on stiff paper. 

One end of a match stick is coated by a chemical material that ignites a fire that happens due to friction once the match is rubbed against a proper surface. Wooden matches come packaged in a paper matchbox. 

Whereas the stiff paper matches are cut and arranged in a row and then stapled inside matchbooks. The coated end of a match stick is colored for easier inspection and is made of an active ingredient along with a binder. 

Now safety matches can only light a fire if they are rubbed against a special surface. There are matches that are called strike-anywhere matches that can be used for fire once rubbed against a surface that can create required friction. 

With time they have multiple fire generating tools and matches, well they are still a part of the household. With frequent and normal use of anything arises the question that are they sustainable? Is it an environmentally friendly option or not? 

The easiest way to light a fire these days that can be taken anywhere just like a matchbox? The way is known as lighter. It’s a small and portable device that can produce small to big flames, normally used to light a cigarette. 

As eco-conscious beings, we humans also have the urge to know about matches or lighters –  which one of the two options is more green friendly.

With a wooden match, the wood is sourced from softwood trees that could be aspen, poplar, white pine. This strikes a normally asked question, how many matches can one make from a tree? 

Well, the answer is about 1 million wooden matches from a tree, according to Swedish Matches. 

The red or blue coating on a matchstick is 50% red phosphorus, 25% of powdered glass, a dash of sulphur that is paired with a binder, and some black carbon.  

Are wooden matches biodegradable?

Wooden matches are easily biodegradable and do not affect the environment. 

If you want to fire a stove or anything, you can easily throw the burning matchstick into that fire, hence zero waste. 

What’s better: wooden matches or a lighter?

Wooden matches are easily compostable, all you have to do is put them in a compost pile. The chemical end is the one that can be concerning though. The chemicals on the colored end gradually go down once burned. 

Do not get fooled by the size of a lighter as they have quite a complex build to them. The body of a firelighter is made of a plastic-type called thermoplastic which is sourced from acetyl resin. Inside of a lighter is butane, a liquid fuel.

On top of a lighter, you can find a guard, hood, and spark wheel. There are also other metals involved like fork springs, jet, valve, and a stopper ball.

Most of the lighters we see today are certainly disposable, obviously once they have run out of juice. But would they degrade quickly? Not possible as it will take about 100 or 200 years. 

The manufacturing of lighters is reliant on our fossil fuels. It contains butane and not to mention the thermoplastic casing, which definitely reduces the chances of lighters being environment friendly. 

With the number of metal parts within a lighter, there is no chance that they would get recycled. 

There has been an improvement though with the refillable lighters. You fill them up and that is how you can reuse a lighter for a long time. 

But the point of using butane remains. So in a nutshell, lighters are no good to our beloved environment. 

As much of a hazard as the above-mentioned things regarding matches and lighters may be, you can not deny how they have been a helping hand for us. You can fire up your stove for your meals to warm your house with the fireplace you got. 

Even if outdoors, there are special matches that you can rub against suitable surfaces to get the fire and warmth going for yourself. So in short, camping is fun and an easy to manage idea. 

So it is basically the decision of choosing the best option for yourself. Lighters are not that horrible ever since the refill system has been introduced. 

You just need to be careful with holding onto the lighter you have already. Try not to lose it every now and then, otherwise, there is no point of reusability in the first place.   

Matches have been around for ages now. Lighters aren’t new as well. It is safe to say that in comparison to a plastic body-based firelighter, matches are a safer option for our environment.