Sparkling Solutions: Eco-Friendly Tips for 4th of July Cleanup

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Fourth of July celebrations bring fun, food, and fireworks, but they also leave behind waste that needs to be disposed of properly to protect the environment. The aftermath of fun, food, and fireworks can leave behind a significant amount of waste that should be handled safely and carefully to ensure we do our part to keep Tennessee clean and safe for everyone.

Disposing of Fireworks

Fireworks can be dangerous even after they have been used, so proper disposal of used fireworks is essential to avoid any safety risks or environmental hazards. With July and August at the height of wildfire season, helping to prevent avoidable firework accidents is crucial to ensuring that wildlife and natural habitats are protected from devastating blazes.

Here’s 4 tips on how to handle them properly:

1.    Wait it Out:

After the show, it’s advisable to wait for at least 20 minutes before approaching spent fireworks. This cooling period reduces the risk of burns or accidental ignitions.

2.    Soak and Stir:

Place all used fireworks, including duds, in a bucket of water. Soaking them overnight ensures they are completely extinguished and helps prevent accidental fires. Stirring helps expose all parts of the remains to water.

3.    Double Bag:

After soaking, transfer the wet fireworks to a plastic bag. Doing this prevents leftover chemicals from leaking and potentially contaminating soil or water.

4.    Check Local Regulations:

Some areas have specific disposal requirements or designated facilities for fireworks waste. Be sure to consult the EPA’s guidelines for getting rid of fireworks and check local resources like the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for local disposal rules.

Disposal of Other Celebration Waste

Parties often generate a variety of waste, from plastic utensils to decorations. Additionally, decorations such as balloons, streamers, and confetti often end up as litter, posing environmental hazards.

Check out 4 ways to ensure your party is fun and eco-friendly:

1.    Recycling Right:

Unfortunately, not all party waste belongs in the recycle bin. Check what materials your local recycling service accepts. Items like plastic tablecloths or contaminated paper plates usually belong in the trash.

2.    Compost When You Can:

Most food waste and many decorations, such as paper banners, cardboard cutouts, natural fiber ribbons, and floral arrangements, are biodegradable can be turned into compost, enriching the soil instead of rotting in a landfill.

3.    Plan Ahead:

Minimizing waste starts with thoughtful planning. Opt for reusable decorations, serving ware, and other sustainable alternatives. Check out our 5 Tips for Reducing Waste During Summer Cookouts to learn more ways to reduce waste during your next get-together.

  • Remember Safety

Handling the cleanup after your 4th of July celebrations safely is as important as the preparations. Proper disposal not only ensures your safety but also protects the environment.

As you celebrate this 4th of July, take a moment to consider the impact of your festivities on the beautiful state of Tennessee. Enjoy the festivities responsibly and help keep our state clean and trash-free!

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