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Marine flares: disposal thereof.

  1. Jan 17, 2013 #1

    sophiecentaur

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    I don't venture onto this bit of PF, very often but I thought that someone might have some information on this subject.
    Out of date distress flares are an embarrassment to sailors. Local waste disposal services don't handle them and even most Coastguards won't touch them. It is sometimes possible to insist that the supplier of new ones (chandlery shop) gets rid of your old ones but that isn't always convenient and neither is a 50mile round trip to a depot which will accept them.

    You are not!!!! allowed to ignite them in any non-emergency and even Guy Fawke's night is a no no.
    My idea would be to puncture them under water with a very slow speed cutter - say a hacksaw or hand drill. After a few weeks, would not any explosive materials have dissolved away, allowing them to be split open and put in the dustbin? I know they work underwater, once they have been ignited but it would be a different matter if they were already soaked.
    In fact, why do they not have a removable strip which could expose the pyrotechnic chemicals to water.

    My question is whether this could be a way forward - which would depend upon the sort of chemicals likely to be used. I would not imagine that there would be anything likely to react with water because there is always a risk of their being dropped or left in water by mistake and we wouldn't want one to go off under those circs. What's in them?

    I don't think I am going against PF policy here as I am only interested in a 'safe' solution.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2013 #2

    SteamKing

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  4. Jan 17, 2013 #3

    sophiecentaur

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    Thanks for the reply but I know the UK regs and I have already disposed of an outdated set of flares legally. That link doesn't address my question, I'm afraid.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2013 #4

    berkeman

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    It would seem safest to toss them into an industrial furnace of some sort. I'm not sure how to go about finding an appropriate one, though.

    Wait, that may not be the right term. I think I mean incinerator:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incinerator

    Or even, if you have a metal drum with no top, and build a fire inside it, are you allowed to toss an expired flare down into the fire? Or do the flares give off colored smoke?
     
  6. Jan 17, 2013 #5

    sophiecentaur

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    Orange smoke flares produce almost a football stadium's worth of orange smoke. You would need to do it at night and out of town and 'they' ignite them in a large steel box to dispose of them afaik - which I don't have. You don't really need an incinerator as they are very easy to light!
    But my question is really about the 'wet' solution to the problem. Nothing like as noticeable as letting them off - wherever or whenever you were to do it.
     
  7. Jan 18, 2013 #6

    Borek

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    All I can say is that your logic (about the wet approach) sounds right.
     
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