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By Boden Lazio
Independence Day is here again! Along with celebrating the birth of our nation, the 4th of July is a time to get outside with friends and family to enjoy fun summer activities. In this post we’ll talk about how to take care of special waste and give tips to ensure a safe and fun holiday.
Independence Day is a unique holiday. There is a significant increase of waste that can lead to big problems like discarded items that become litter. There is also an increase of a particular kind of waste: fireworks (yes, even those smaller firecrackers). Large fireworks are prohibited in California, but some counties allow “safe and sane” fireworks. While these are a fun way to celebrate, they can be dangerous if not handled properly. Fireworks on average start 18,500 fires a year, this is almost solely because of neglectful handling both while using and disposing of them.
Helpful Tips & Safe Practices
Fourth of July has an increase of one-use products that become trash quickly, like plastic cups, plates and silverware. While the disposal of these are simple, it can be easily neglected. Here are some tips for managing particular Independence Day waste:
- Community managers, and even vigilant residents may want to consider increasing the number of trash pick-ups or bins either temporarily or permanently to handle periods of waste increases.
- Community managers can also provide special janitorial services for next-day cleanup of clubhouses or pool areas where people will be getting together to celebrate the holiday.
- Whether or not communities have the resources to manage seasonal trash management needs, managers should provide the information to residents beforehand. This can include making sure trash and recycle areas well marked, or letting residents know where to take their waste at special sites or recycling centers.
- When it comes to fireworks and sparklers, proper disposal is often neglected despite a fairly simple process. First, take your used or unused fireworks and soak them in water for at least an hour. Second, place the wet fireworks in a plastic bag or something similar to keep the moisture as much as possible. Third, place the fireworks in regular black-lid trash bins for removal. Do not place them in recycle or yard-waste bins! You can also check out these guides on fireworks and handling: Orange County Fireworks Safety, San Diego County Fireworks Law and Los Angeles County 4th of July Safety Tips.
Celebrating 4th of July should also inspire us to maintain and improve our country, and that starts with the individual and their community. This can be as simple as making sure to recycle cans and bottles at a party and as significant as following your local firework regulations. Efforts that may seem small at the time, can have a large impact in the long run.
If handling 4th of July materials next week, please handle them properly. Remember to be safe and have a wonderful Independence Day!