Fuel and Other Flammables

If it’s easy to ignite and burns quickly, it’s considered flammable. Flammable substances may be a liquid, solid or gas. Products must be handled carefully — they’re not just flammable, they’re poisonous and/or corrosive as well!

Commonly used flammable products:

  • white gas
  • kerosene
  • gasoline
  • butane
  • propane
  • lighters and lighter fluid
  • fire extinguishers
  • helium tanks
  • propane tanks
  • cooking oil

Why it matters

Flammable materials don’t just cause fires — they can also release poisonous gases and vapours into the air as they burn. As for combustible products, they can produce dangerous chemicals including carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen oxides. If you’re pouring flammable liquids down the drain, you’re creating a fire hazard and potentially contaminating marine environments. And pressurized flammables, such as helium and propane tanks, can explode when heated, causing injury to persons and property.

What you can do

1. Plan ahead

Here’s a great rule of thumb when it comes to flammables: Don’t need it? Don’t buy it! Avoid the need to store flammable products by sharing any excess with neighbours or friends who might have an immediate use for the product.

2. Store it safely

Flammable materials should live in non-breakable, tightly-sealed containers. Store them in a well ventilated, temperature-controlled area — the ideal location is separate from your home. Avoid storing flammable products in your basement, utility room or attached garage. Keep them away from electrical equipment; open flames and heat sources (including the furnace and dryer); and away from direct sunlight. To avoid dangerous interactions, don’t mix flammables. And lastly, use caution when storing them in close proximity.

3. Dispose of it properly

Throwing away flammable materials with your regular garbage? Think again. This can create a risk of a fire or explosion that could harm sanitation workers, equipment, infrastructure and the environment.

  • Regional waste management authorities offer drop-offs and collection events that accept fuel and other flammable products found in your home. Find your nearest drop-off site.
  • Lubricating, crankcase, gear oil, and transmission fluid can all be brought to any oil retailer, free of charge. (As for oil filters, they should be thoroughly drained, tied in a plastic bag, and disposed of in regular garbage.) Find your nearest drop-off location.

If you want to prevent spills, fires and explosions, you must transport and dispose of flammables properly. To transport flammables to a drop-off location:

  • Place products in non-breakable, tightly-sealed containers.
  • Place containers upright in open-topped boxes (not in plastic bags).
  • Ensure all valves are closed on propane tanks.
  • Put the boxes in the trunk of your car or securely fastened at the back of a truck.
  • Make sure your vehicle has plenty of ventilation so fumes do not build up inside.
  • Do not leave flammables in your vehicle for any amount of time.