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Marine Flares

Pyrotechnic Marine Flares are considered explosive hazardous waste and require special handling and disposal.  Consider switching to reusable electronic devices.

Pyrotechnic marine flares contain toxic metals and pollutants, such as perchlorate.

Pyrotechnic devices expire 42 months after manufacturing and need to be disposed of properly to avoid danger to persons and environment. Check printed expiration dates and contact the manufacturer for advice on proper disposal of expired flares and flares that will expire in the upcoming boating season. Never throw expired devices overboard or in household trash.

Non-pyrotechnic (electronic) devices, also known as electronic distress signal devices (eVDSDs), never expire and can last the lifetime of your boat. Residents can use an eVDSD with an orange flag for their safety and maximum visibility in an emergency situation. Annually check and dispose of dead batteries at the Delta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.

While there currently are no safe, permanent disposal options in the Bay Area, Alameda County, Delta Diablo, Del Norte County, West Contra Costa County, and the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) have partnered with CalRecycle and the California State Parks and Coastal Commission’s California Boating Clean and Green Program to collect expired marine flares and educate residents about marine flare management safety, including the advantages of reusable distress signals, to protect Bay Area communities and the local environment. See below for event details:

Event Date and Location 

Date:Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
 between August 17 and September 16, 2023 from 9 am to 4 pm
LocationDelta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility
 2500 Pittsburg-Antioch Highway, Antioch, CA 94509

Event Instructions:

  • Transport flares safely. Keep in original packaging or protect from movement. Assure any ignition device is covered or taped in place.
  • Bring proof of residence or marina membership to the event.
  • Stay in your vehicle.  It is state law and for your own safety. Items must be in an unlocked trunk or back cargo space.

Acceptable Items:

  • Hand-held flares
  • Aerial flares
  • Smoke signals
  • For military type, damaged, decayed, very old or very large items e-mail for options

 Non-Acceptable Items:

  • Other hazardous waste such as paint, batteries, and oil. For details about other hazardous waste go to our Household Hazardous Waste page
  • Items from commercial craft, businesses, or organizations

Coupons for discounts on reusable flares can be found at -

Additional information can be found at the California Product Stewardship Council’s Marine Flare webpage.