An exciting firework display is usually a good indicator that something festive is going on, but while the fireworks themselves can be beautiful, the mess they leave behind isn’t pretty, nor is it good for the environment.
In fact, according to a 2015 study published in Atmospheric Environment, there is 42 percent more air pollution for the 24-hour period beginning at eight in the evening on July 4th than there typically is on a day without fireworks. Plus, local wildlife may become confused and bewildered by the loud sound that fireworks produce.
According to Elizabeth Wilson, a pyrotechnician licensed in California, fireworks usually contain a mixture of fuel, oxidizer, color-producing metal, and chlorine-donating compounds. Even once the firework has been set off, there could still be remnants of some of these chemicals present, so used fireworks should certainly not be left sitting around.
How to safely dispose of fireworks
Firstly, you should check the laws that apply to the disposal of fireworks on your city, town, country, or state’s government website and follow those instructions. However, if there are no instructions posted, then here’s what to do:
Make sure any of the used or unused fireworks you want to dispose of are waterlogged, even the ones that you found to be faulty. To accomplish this, submerge them in a bucket of water for at least 15 minutes. Some recommend leaving them in for up to 48 hours, but if you can see that they’re thoroughly soaked, inside and out, then waiting that long shouldn’t be necessary.
Once the fireworks are drenched through and through, pour the water that’s left in the bucked into the toilet. Then, seal up the fireworks in a plastic bag to keep them damp. Once that’s done, then you can dispose of the bag. In most cases, you can safely dispose of the bag in a regular garbage bin (not in the recycling), however, make sure to double-check the local laws and instructions from your local fire department.
In reality, the best and safest option for you, your loved ones, and the environment would be to ditch fireworks altogether and opt for some fun alternatives for your next celebration.