The True Cost of A Disposable Lighter

Here I am working with a bow drill to make primitive fire. The material for this kit I gathered in the local forest or came from a local woodlot. This wasn’t the most locally gathered source but at other times, I was able to gather all the material from the landscape from the same area. I know more about the cost of this material than a lighter from a store.


Then there is the lighter. The lighter- what is its true cost? Though it is very cheap to buy a disposable lighter, each piece of material in its construction, could come from different parts of the world, all delivered to one place to be constructed, then shipped to different places around the word. How much oil was used by transport to the factory? How much fossil fuel was used in it’s construction? Not to mention that a disposable lighter could go here if it doesn’t wash into the ocean to break down into plastic particles that will be consumed by sea life.


You can understand the environmentals cost of a tool you make yourself. But lighter, you will never know. This is the problem of sustainability in an industrial age as a consumer. How can you know the true cost of the things you buy?

The ideas from this article came from Arthur Haines, a scientist, primitive skills and rewilding advocate. You can find his website at









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