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Road & Marine Flares

How to Recycle Road & Marine Flares

  1. Never Throw in Garbage or Recycling: Marine flares are dangerous for sanitation workers to handle. Do not place it in any of your curbside containers, and treat them as hazardous waste.
  2. 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 the drinking water supply and pose a threat to the environment and our health.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Hazardous waste must be disposed of at designated locations and times. There are six household hazardous waste facilities in San Luis Obispo County. All household hazardous waste facilities accept up to 15 gallons or 125 pounds of waste materials free of charge.

Chicago Grade Landfill
2290 Homestead Road, Templeton, CA | For more information call: (805) 782-8530
Hours:  Saturday 11 am-3 pm
Map & Directions

Cold Canyon Landfill
2268 Carpenter Canyon Road, San Luis Obispo, CA | For more information call: (805) 782-8530
Hours: Friday and Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm 
Map & Directions

Heritage Ranch Community Services District
4870 Heritage Road, Paso Robles, CA | For more information call: (805) 782-8530
Hours: Friday 12 pm – 2 pm
Map & Directions

Morro Bay Household Hazardous Waste Facility
160 Atascadero Road, Morro Bay, CA | For more Information call: (805) 782-8530
Hours: Saturday 11 am – 3 pm
Map & Directions

Nipomo Household Hazardous Waste Facility
509 Southland Street, Nipomo, CA | For more information call: (805) 782-8530
Hours: Saturday 11 am – 3 pm
Map & Directions

Paso Robles Landfill
9000 CA Hwy. 46 East, Paso Robles, CA | For more information call: (805) 238-2028
Hours: Saturday 11 am – 3 pm
Map & Directions

These facilities accept all household hazardous waste but can not accept radioactive, medical waste or explosives.  The IWMA has separate programs for the proper disposal of batteries, CFLs, fluorescent tubes, mercury thermostatsmedicineneedles and sharps, and paint. Empty containers may be discarded with your trash. For more information on proper disposal, call (805) 782-8530 or click on the links above.


Donate Expired Flares: Check with the Coast Guard Auxiliary to see if they are currently accepting expired flares for training purposes.

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.

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.

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