10: Have you got a light?

Idea number 10 moves into the realms of light via the sacred flame and things that catch fire generally – Yes, this one is about disposable lighters!

Firstly to the smokers: Of course, I’m not advocating smoking itself, we all know it’s bad for you and those around you, but smoking is not illegal in most countries – yet! And smokers are people too, and as such, can help to reduce some of the single-use plastic in the world.

Of course, smokers are not the only ones who set light to things. Pyromaniacs aside, you might also need to light a candle, or several on a birthday cake (I’m not counting anymore): a barbecue; a camping stove for the adventurers; a log fire, etc. Fire is probably one of the most important inventions that humans ever made. Several million years later, a far more stupid one was invented – the disposable plastic lighter!

If you can afford to smoke (do you know how much a packet of 20 cigarettes costs in the UK these days? Phew!) you can afford to buy a refillable lighter – seriously. Why not go the whole hog and buy a nice, shiny metal one? Gold, if you’re a particularly wealthy smoker. In the long run it will actually save you money. Butane to refill lighters is pretty cheap and lasts for ages. If you’re extra cool, an old rock chick perhaps, invest in a Zippo and impress your friends by trying to refill it at the petrol station while gassing up your Harley Davidson!

In any case, those cheap disposable lighters always run out of flint before they run out of ¬†gas, so you’re not only chucking the plastic away in the bin, but a bit of combustible liquid along with it.

And, for the old school among us, who only light the occasional candle in a power cut, you can’t beat a simple box of matches. Cheap, sustainable and totally biodegradable.

Disclaimer: Just remember to take care around anything flammable. Keep lighters and matches away from children, and also from adults who aren’t safe left in rooms on their own (see the annual Darwin Awards for examples).