Firework Safety for your Trash Bin By Cassie McClure July 2, 2021

Headline: Firework Safety for your Trash Bin

Submitted by South Central Solid Waste Authority

Date: July 2, 2021 (Bulletin)

Just when you think you’ve picked up all the used firework shells from your front yard, be careful with the smoldering remains or unused fireworks that could accidentally set off something more dangerous – like a fire in your trash bin.

“It’s not just fireworks,” said Miguel Fernandez, South Central Solid Waste Authority program administrator. “We also see the coals from BBQs during the summer months. People think they are out when they throw them in the trash bin. One little spark and it catch other material on fire – especially if it’s flammable.”

Like hot coals in the summer and hot ashes from a fireplace in the winter, fireworks that may not have burned out are a part of the Fourth of July holiday, along with the trash that tends to end up spilling into the desert.

But when a fire starts in the trash, the best-case scenario would be that it just ends up melting a bin that needs to be replaced at a cost to the customer. The worst-case scenario could cause an entire truckload to burn if it gets picked up while the bin still has a spark. Even if the homeowner’s bin doesn’t catch fire, which is already dangerous as it’s usually next to the home, it’s also hard to know what else is in the trash truck.

This warning also extends to commercial bins, the big 6- or 8- cubic yard metal dumpsters. When a fire starts in a metal dumpster, the rubberized lid can catch fire and melt, and the paint on the dumpster bubbles up from the heat. The dumpster must be sandblasted, repainted, and the lid replaced, a cost passed onto the customer.

There are plenty of dangerous items you shouldn’t throw in your trash bin – like car batteries, paint, oil, or fluorescent light bulbs, or fluorescent light fixtures with ballasts – but coals and unfinished fireworks can make your party end up more costly than intended.

South Central Solid Waste Authority manages solid waste and recyclables for residents and businesses throughout Doña Ana County. Contact SCSWA at (575) 528-3800 or visit www.SCSWA.net.

Caption: Hot coals from BBQs and unused fireworks can cause fires in your trash bin, which can end up causing a whole trash truck to catch fire.