How to Dispose of Lava Lamps

orange rocket lava lamp

Maybe you had a lava lamp in your college dorm room. Perhaps it sat on one of those spools that used to have industrial cables wrapped around it. Was there a "Frampton Comes Alive" poster on your wall?  Did you have beads instead of a door? How many fringes did your leather jacket have?  Now that you've grown up and wear fringeless jackets made out sustainable materials and have proper doors with knobs, you may want to find a way to get rid of your old lava lamp.

The materials inside the lava lamp are a trade secret. The patent for the first lava lamp was made with these materials: "solidified globule of mineral oil, paraffin and a dye as well as paraffin wax or petroleum jell, preferably Ondina 17 with a light paraffin, carbontetrachoride, a dye and the paraffin wax or petroleum jelly." According to lava lamp manufacturers,  the material inside is non-hazardous, but they do have the poison hotline number next to this information. I'd assume that you shouldn't drink it at the very least. 


Here are the safety precautions:

For ingestion: DO NOT induce vomiting! Seek medical attention.

For direct contact to eyes:  


Flush open eye with a direct stream of water for 15 minutes and then seek medical attention.

For direct skin contact: 

Clean the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. Remove and wash contaminated clothing immediately. If irritation occurs, then seek medical attention.

[b]For nausea or headaches caused by the odor: 

Step outside for fresh air. If symptoms persist, then seek medical attention.

Should you need specific health information contact Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center at 303-739-1110 or visit their web site at

However, if you heat up a lava lamp on the stove it can explode and be fatal. Mythbusters did a story on that.

[b]Disposing of Lava Lamps:

I called a lava lamp company and asked them how to dispose of a lava lamp. They told me that I could wrap the lava lamp in newspaper and throw it in the trash. I was told that it was non-toxic. They warned me not to pour the liquid down the sink because it contained wax. If the lamp works, take it to a thrift store. If it is broken, you should recycle the plastic and/or the glass bits. The electronic parts can be disposed of with other e-waste. The waxy lava stuff needs to be wrapped in newspaper and placed in the dumpster. 

[b]Reuse : Fish Tank:

After a thorough cleaning, you can put a fish or two in the lava lamp.  If the tank is small, make sure to choose fish that don't need a lot of aeration. Otherwise, you will have to clean the tank quite often. 

Whether it's DIY green renovation tips you're looking for or 5 ways to reuse nearly everything you can think of, learn how with Planet Green Home & Garden