Day 128 / 365

Since returning to France last September, my husfriend and I have lived in an apartment with a gas stove. It scared the sh*t out of me that stove, and I refused to use the oven, something about sticking my hand into a stove filling with gas just to light it sent me spinning. So I stuck to the stovetop, the use of which was aided by about 10 lighters we had on the ready to make that burner burn. 

We've now moved to a different flat, with a super modern electric stove which I'm pretty sure I'm ruining every time I clean, but the bucket of lighters remains, all plastic and multicoloured like Barbie's minions. All of which, apart from the odd candle light up or palo santo burn, they lay dormant.

To add to the problem, I also smoke when I'm drinking. I've sort-of kind-of tried to stop, but not hard enough to actually stop. Because I'm a social smoker in denial, I tend to buy my cigs illegally (you can buy just one individually if you want from certain shops in Paris which shall not be named). Because I'm a social smoker in denial, I almost never have a one of the ten lighters we own on me, so I buy yet another to use for the few cigarettes I've squandered, and add them to the un-conscious collection.

Cigarettes are jerks to the earth making me a jerk too, especially because I know how god awful they are on every level (post on cigarettes to come) - but lighters, which smokers and non-smokers alike tend to use more often than matches are pretty big jerks too.

THE PROBLEM Over1.5 billion plastic lighters end up in landfills every year, millions more end up in our waterways and pollute our oceans, harming, poisoning or suffocating wild life and marine life who ingest these plastics thinking they are food. Over a million sea birds and mammals die annually from plastic ingestion or entanglement (that we know of). Each lighter takes between 450 - 1000 years to biodegrade.

Other than candles, cigarettes, joints, and the odd camping trip, there’s not much else we need plastic lighters for. Ideally cardboard matches made from recycled materials or biodegradable cactus matches as they’ll break down. Even the wood ones are better than a lighter for the planet, though many of them are made using paraffin wax, animal glues, virgin woods, gelatin, and other unfriendly things in their creation. 

If you must have a lighter, get one which can be refilled and reused like a zippo!

*ideally just choose cardboard matches available from local shops

Sources: 1234