ESG resource

June 25, 2024


Cool Down with These Waste and Recycling Tips for a Sustainable Summer

Summertime fun is here, but it often means more waste from disposable items and decorations. Do you have a plan for proper disposal or recycling after your summer cookouts, beach days, pool parties, or picnics? If setting off fireworks this Fourth of July, do you know how to safely dispose of sparklers? And what about those party decorations you no longer need?

ESG Illustration
Cool Down with These Waste and Recycling Tips for a Sustainable Summer

Summertime fun has just begun, and while the list of activities is endless, all this enjoyment also equals more generated waste. Just think about all the disposable plates, cups, utensils, decorations and food that will accompany your summer cookout, beach day, pool party or picnic. Do you have a plan in place for how to dispose of or recycle those materials properly? If coordinating your own fireworks display this Fourth of July, do you know how to safely get rid of those used or unused sparklers when the fun is over? What should you do with all those party decorations you don’t want to keep?

Don’t worry if you don’t have the answers to these questions. Here are a few tips to help you and your waste beat the heat and shore up your waste and recycling practices to have a sustainable summer.

Prep Appropriately for Beach Day or a Backyard Party

When planning a picnic or beach day, reduce waste with reusable containers for packed lunches and snacks over paper or plastic bags. Hydration is also key this time of year, so don’t forget those reusable insulated water bottles to keep your drink colder longer.

If you’re hosting a backyard pool party, pick up some easy-to-care-for and non-breakable plates and cups to minimize single-use supplies, a purchase that can reduce waste and save you money in the long run. Those reusable containers will also come back in handy to store leftovers after hosting any sort of summer soirée—opt to wrap any leftovers in alumni foil versus plastic wrap or bags when packing up food at the end of the party. Then, when the party’s over, consider hanging onto any festive party décor that’s still in decent shape. Pack it away to save for another occasion, but if your decorations have seen a better day, confirm what material they’re made out of and check local recycling guidelines before tossing in the recycling bin or the trash.

Ditch Storebought Popsicles and Make Your Own

Nothing is more refreshing than a popsicle on a warm summer day. Instead of splurging on the storebought variety, where each popsicle is individually wrapped in plastic, consider making them at home as a fun activity you can get creative with. Popsicle molds are easy to find both online and in stores and will reduce plastic wrapper waste.

Dispose of Your Fireworks Responsibly this Independence Day

Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks has become an American pastime. However, if choosing to orchestrate your own sparkler display at home, it’s important to know how to safely dispose of them when the party is over to avoid starting a hazardous fire and protect yourself, your neighbors and the environment.

  • Understanding the components: While most fireworks are sold in plastic or cardboard packaging and contain plastic materials, don’t let the wrapping fool you into thinking they can be recycled. Fireworks, whether used or unused, never belong in your recycling container due to hazardous chemical compounds that can cause a fire or pose a danger to your health, safety and the environment if not handled with care when the fun is done. Fireworks should be thrown out as trash, but before tossing them straight into the trash bin, there are specific disposal steps to follow.
  • Safety first: Water and wrap in plastic before turning into waste: Follow these commonly recommended steps to properly dispose of your fireworks once the smoke has cleared.
    • Water: Submerge used or misfired fireworks and sparklers in a bucket of water overnight to fully extinguish them and ensure they won’t reignite. The same process should be followed for any unused fireworks—place them in a bucket of water to soak for up to 24 hours.
    • Wrap: Once thoroughly saturated, double-wrap the fireworks in plastic bags to maintain moisture and ensure they won’t dry out.
    • Wastebin: Then, place the securely double-bagged fireworks in your trash to be thrown away with other household waste or bring to the landfill.
  • Regulations may vary: It’s important to note that specific guidelines for proper disposal of fireworks and sparklers may vary depending on where you’re located. Depending on where you live, there also may be specific regulations about what types of fireworks you can legally purchase and use in your state. Ensure you’re following all specific local ordinances when disposing of your used or unused fireworks. Check state and county websites for more information and consider consulting with your local solid waste facility or fire department to understand what options or collection processes may be available in your community. Ultimately, maximize your awareness around proper fireworks purchasing and disposal to minimize risk and ensure a safe and celebratory Independence Day fireworks display.

Place Yourself on Pickup Patrol

Always make sure to leave places better than you found them by responsibly taking away any waste you brought and picking up any additional bottles or plastic that may be in your area. If any items you pick up are recyclable, make a difference by placing them in the proper receptacle.

Hopefully these tips help you feel prepared for your next backyard barbecue or beach day, but you can always consider a few additional ways to beat the heat beyond waste and recycling best practices this summer.

Share This Article

Continue Reading

Media Contact