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Disposing of unwanted or expired pyrotechnic flares

Following the end of HM Coastguard’s flare disposal scheme in December 2022, The Green Blue’s Environmental Facilities Map has become the quickest and easiest way to find your nearest provider of flare disposal services.


Environmental Facilities Map

The facilities map, hosted on The Green Blue website, displays the contact details for disposal service providers across the UK. We are actively encouraging more organisations to provide these services due to the current geographical gaps for accessing the facilities found across the UK. Anyone looking to dispose of flares should contact the providers directly to discuss their disposal needs.


If you are unable to find any local disposal facilities that meet your requirements, then you could contact the following possible alternatives:

  • the place where you bought them
  • local marinas
  • life raft service stations
  • local authorities
  • waste disposal businesses, some may already offer a disposal service

Remember: abandoning expired flares at police and fire stations, or anywhere else, amounts to illegal dumping and is potentially a criminal offence. Due to the nature of the substances within the flares, they are classified as hazardous goods, and therefore must be disposed of through a licenced organisation.


Forward Planning

Under the UK Merchant Shipping Regulations certain pyrotechnic distress flares are mandatory for Pleasure Vessels of 13.7m in length and over. Unless you are required by law to carry pyrotechnic flares you may prefer to rely on more modern technology for distress alerting. For further reading on this, and how best to indicate your location and that you need assistance without using pyrotechnics, visit the Calling for Help page on the RYA website.


More than flares

The Green Blue Environmental Facilities Map also provides recreational boaters with a handy resource for finding their nearest environmental facilities on both inland and coastal waters throughout the UK. The listed facilities include recycling; hazardous waste disposal; pump out stations; black water/Elsan disposal; water refill points and filtered/bunded boat wash-downs.


You can access the Environmental Facilities Map by visiting the Resources page. For further information about flare disposal, visit the GOV.UK website.


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