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Allison W. sent me a Facebook message asking what to do with used and unused fireworks

Hey James,

Turns out my kids (9 and 12 year old girls) hate fireworks when we do them at home. My husband bought a ton of fireworks for this year and he and I were so excited to give the girls a great show. They love them when they're in Rochester on the 4th, so we thought they'd love these.

Nope. Tears. Not because they were scared, but because it really frightened our basset hound Charlie. Poor dears couldn't stand to see him freaking out, so we have a LOT of leftovers. But I can't find anywhere how to get rid of them. Is it OK to throw them away? Do we have to turn them in somewhere like old prescriptions?

I got in touch with Anthony Wittmer, the Olmsted County Environmental Resources Communications Specialist. Anthony, in turn reached out to Rochester Fire Department Captain Brett Knapp, Engine 16, Battalion 2 and boom. An answer.

SamRyley ThinkStock
SamRyley ThinkStock

Hi James,

I understand you’re looking for some info on fireworks disposal. Thanks for checking in with us on this. It’s a very important topic now that the Fourth is behind us. RFD does not offer a fireworks disposal service, so it’s the responsibility of the consumer to dispose of them properly. A few things:

1. Similar to spent fireworks or those that misfire (duds), unused fireworks should be soaked in a container of water (outdoors and overnight if possible). Due to the chemical compounds inside, fireworks should not be soaked in natural bodies of water like lakes or streams. Also, do not leave any fireworks outside to be soaked in the rain, as runoff can make it into storm sewers and the environment.

2. Removing the fuse or wick helps avoid any inadvertent lighting as well.

3. While the fireworks are still wet, double wrap them in plastic trash bags in such a way that keeps the fireworks from drying out. Then dispose of them with the rest of the household trash.


A quick message from Anthony Wittmer at Olmsted County before I go...

Following these steps will help reduce the chance of fire/explosions in garbage trucks and at our solid waste management facilities. All fireworks disposed of in this manner—within the boundaries of Olmsted (and Dodge) County—will eventually be brought to the Olmsted Waste-to-Energy Facility.

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