4th of july
June 24, 2022

Recycle Right This Independence Day

With the arrival of summer, many of us are heading outside to enjoy the warm weather, barbecue and celebrate the 4th of July. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) wants to remind residents that while fireworks make for festive celebrations, they can be dangerous to sanitation workers, trucks and solid waste facilities when improperly disposed of. Additionally, improper recycling or disposal of other commonly used summertime items can be detrimental to solid waste facility operations.

If you have spent, unused, misfired or “dud” fireworks, following these safe disposal steps will help ensure the protection of you, your family, waste haulers and waste disposal facilities.

  1. Completely submerge 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.
  2. Wrap the completely soaked fireworks in plastic wrap or two plastic bags so they do not dry out.
  3. Place the double-bagged fireworks in your household garbage. Fireworks are not recyclable and should never be placed in your recycling container.

Proper Disposal of other Hazardous Items:

  • Propane Tanks: Even when empty, pressurized containers have the potential to explode and cause fires at solid waste facilities. Whether you’re using a 1-pound or 100-pound propane tank, neverplace the tank in your recycling container or garbage can. Propane tanks can be delivered to the Authority’s Utica & Rome EcoDrops for proper recycling/disposal at NO CHARGE. (Visit org for hours and locations)
  • Rechargeable Batteries: Under the NYS Rechargeable Battery Law, rechargeable batteries such as car batteries, cordless drill batteries and rechargeable alkaline batteries cannot be disposed of as garbage nor placed in your recycling bin. Visit www.ohswa.org for a list of locations where you can drop-off your rechargeable batteries at no cost. Regular household alkaline batteries should be placed in the garbage for proper disposal.

“Some items that don’t seem dangerous can spell disaster at recycling centers and transfer stations. Propane tanks, rechargeable batteries and fireworks (even if they are spent, or “dud” fireworks) can all cause explosions and fires at our facilities,” says Samantha Brown, Authority Recycling Coordinator. “To ensure you are properly disposing of all your household items, please check out AmIRecyclable.com. Our waste disposal guidelines are available online 24/7 and help to keep everyone safe,” she continued.

Additional Summer Waste Reduction Tips:

  • Solo Cups: Did you know that plastic cups can be recycled? ALL plastic bottles, cups and containers (excluding Styrofoam, prescription medicine bottles and motor oil bottles) can be placed in your recycling bin, regardless of the triangle symbol & number code.
  • Avoid Disposable Plates/Utensils: All paper and plastic plates, disposable plastic utensils and paper napkins are garbage items – they are not recyclable. Do not place single-use utensils, plates, or napkins in your recycling bin. If you cannot use reusable items, please place plates/utensils and napkins in the garbage for proper disposal. Look for biodegradable and recycled-content paper goods when possible, and avoid Styrofoam if you can (no Styrofoam is accepted for recycling at Authority facilities)!
  • Grill with the lid down: it is more energy efficient, helps distribute heat thoroughly and ensures even cooking.
  • Fill up pitchers of water, lemonade and iced tea instead of buying large quantities of personal-sized beverage containers. This not only reduces waste, but saves money, too!
  • Buy in Bulk: Purchase large bags of chips and large bottles of ketchup and other condiments rather than individually packaged items. This will cost less money and will result in a lot less packaging waste.

“Any action we take to reduce waste and recycle properly directly impacts our local economy and environment; conserving landfill space, natural resources and energy,” says Brown. “Making even a few small changes at summer gatherings - like buying in bulk or setting out reusable items for party guests - add up to make a big difference,” she continued.

Are you hosting a community event? The Authority appreciates recycling efforts in our region and is pleased to provide assistance by offering recycling containers for use at special community events. If you are interested in obtaining recycling containers for your event, please visit our website to complete the request form.

For more information on recycling and waste disposal, please contact Authority Recycling Coordinator Samantha Brown at (315) 733-1224 ext. 2800 or visit ohswa.org.