Author: Suzie Vance, Editor in Chief
Celebrations can be exciting–especially when you have an amazing fireworks display involved. We love to see those spectacular shows that are done professionally. And, professionals are great at ensuring that the entire show, including cleanup, goes smoothly and safely. But what about backyard fireworks displays?
If you’re going to participate in your own fireworks show, it’s important to remember a few safety rules. Anyone handling fireworks should wear gloves and protective eyewear. You should also have water on hand so that you can put out any fires that start. And then there are the duds that can be tricky to handle and dispose of. It’s important to remember that spent fireworks and duds remain hot after use. If you don’t handle them carefully, they can spark fires or cause serious injury. Even sparklers can reach temperatures in excess of 15 times that of boiling water.
So, you’ve had your show, and now you face the task of cleaning up. After the fireworks show, you should pick up ALL debris. Remember that pieces of material that fall to the ground may still be hot and can start a fire. The metals and chemicals in the explosives can also pollute the soil and water, so it’s important to collect them all. After you’ve collected the spent fireworks and duds, soak them in water before placing them in a sealed plastic bag. This will keep them moist so that they can’t accidentally ignite. And, you should never try to re-light a dud—wait 20 minutes after the failed detonation, then saturate the explosive with water before putting it in a plastic bottle.
Now that you’ve picked up, soaked, and packaged all debris and duds, you’ll need to dispose of them. The compounds that are used to make the colorful explosions contain metals that can pollute the air, water, and surrounding ecosystem, so they can’t be recycled or composted. The proper place to dispose of them is in your regular trash receptacle. If you don’t have curbside service you can bring them to your local solid waste center for disposal (make sure to tell the workers at the waste center that you are disposing of fireworks). If you don’t feel comfortable placing fireworks in the trash, contact your local fire department and ask if they can dispose of the fireworks for you.
There are also a few things to remember NOT to do with fireworks. You should never put fireworks or fireworks debris in a bonfire or use them to start a fire. It’s also not safe to bury them or soak them in a natural body of water. You can safely soak them in a container or with a water hose before placing them in plastic bags for disposal.
We love the spectacular fireworks displays, and with a little knowledge and preparation we can enjoy our own backyard fireworks shows as well. Remember to dispose of your spent fireworks responsibly, be safe, and enjoy the show!