To light my gas stove, I use either a cheap butane lighter or small sulphur matches. The lighter is refillable and made of plastic, and the matches are made of wood and come in small cardboard boxes. I compost the used matches.

Is there much of a difference as far as greenhouse gas emissions go? Is there obvious environmental concerns with one or the other?


  • I assume the stove could probably be lit with a simple spark.
  • The lighter would be refilled with butane from a butane can, which originates from fossil fuel (as I understand, either from natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas).
  • It seems unlikely that either would make it to the top 100 of highest impact behaviour you have. The effect of either is very, very small.
    – gerrit
    Sep 26, 2016 at 13:30
  • 2
    @gerrit, while that may be true, it's a very easy change to make - so if there's a measurable benefit to one method over the other, why not make the change? Stragu, perhaps it would be helpful to expand your question with pros/cons of each? I'd also add that the lighter is refilled with fossil fuels - unless there are biogas lighters?
    – LShaver
    Sep 26, 2016 at 15:44
  • Depends on the gas stove - does it need a flame, or can it light from a spark? What about a piezoelectric lighter, or a fire steel.
    – vclaw
    Sep 26, 2016 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


I would use a mechanical or electromechanical or mechanical sparkle lighter.

This mechanical one is purely made of metal, and should last more than your stove:

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The electromechanical could even last longer (it has no retrofit):

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Even more, you could try to modify and use an existing empty electronic lighter.

  • 1
    I pick up cigarette lighters that smokers discard, because they often have lighter fluid left and generally work without it anyway - all you need is the spark-generating part. That reduces litter and is free :)
    – Ⴖuі
    Oct 2, 2016 at 0:30

As you mention, all that is really needed is something to produce a spark several inches from your hand (which is why a simple flint and steel is not a realistic option). I suggest using a piezo electric gas lighter.

A quick internet search will turn up many products, some battery powered and others using hand "effort" to produce the spark. The hand-powered version is the most obviously "zero-emissions beyond manufacture" option, but you could use solar and rechargeable batteries and still avoid emissions beyond the initial manufacture of the lighter and batteries.

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