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Enjoy fireworks safely and dispose of them properly

Lit sparklerFireworks are an Independence Day tradition embraced by countless cities and individuals to celebrate the holiday. But care should be taken when using and disposing of fireworks. Fireworks contain dangerous chemicals that can spark fires and improper disposal can put waste collection workers at risk.

Used and unused fireworks are not recyclable. Best practice is to buy only as much as you can use and use them all the season you buy them.

Here are some firework disposal tips for residents courtesy of the Mid-Michigan Waste Authority:

  • Whether they are used or unused, do not place any fireworks or any part of fireworks in your recycling container. All fireworks should be treated as trash.
  • Put used fireworks in a bucket of water overnight. Remember that fireworks can still be burning on the inside long after the sparks have stopped. Remove them from the water and put them in a garbage bag and into your garbage can.
  • Completely submerge unused fireworks in a large bucket of water and soak until thoroughly saturated. This may take 15 minutes for small fireworks or as long as overnight for larger ones. Double wrap the completely soaked fireworks in plastic wrap or two plastic bags so they do not dry out. Place the double-bagged fireworks in a larger trash bag and put them out with your household trash.

To stay safe this July 4th holiday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides tips to avoid sparking wildfires as well:

  • Don't launch fireworks into forests or fields where dry grass or leaves could ignite.
  • Always supervise kids and keep fireworks away from your face and eyes.
  • Don't try to re-ignite fireworks that won't go off.
  • Keep a water source ready to spray embers from fireworks. Spray the entire area where you will be using fireworks with water before and after firing off the fireworks.
  • Toss fireworks and sparklers into a bucket of water when finished, then properly dispose of them in the trash - never in a lake or river.

Sky lanterns, also popular on holidays, are litter. They leave wires than can entangle wildlife and they can also start wildfires.

Spark-free alternatives to traditional fireworks that kids will love include ribbon dancers, biodegradable confetti poppers, glow-in-the dark bubbles and glow sticks.

Find wildfire prevention tips at and check open burning status at

Photo caption: Sparkler

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