WM Provides Tips for an Independence Day Free of Fire Hazards

Published 9:30 am Sunday, July 2, 2023

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Gulf Area (June 30, 2023) – As family and friends gather for barbecues, picnics and parties this holiday weekend, it’s important to properly dispose of trash to prevent dangerous situations. This is the time of year when we see an increase in flammable materials being improperly disposed of curbside and potentially creating fire hazards in our communities.

“The most common causes of fires in garbage or recycling trucks — especially in the summertime — are hot barbecue coals and ashes, as well as flammable items such as pool chemicals and paint, lighter fluid and propane tanks, lithium ion and rechargeable batteries, and fireworks,” said Mark Noel, WM Director – Environmental, Health and Safety. “These flammable materials can create unsafe situations for our workers, neighbors and first responders.”

As we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July, WM offers these safety tips for flammable household waste:

  • Hot coals or ashes should never be placed in a trash container. Cool the coals for several days on the grill or in a metal container full of water then seal the container with a tight lid before placing in your trash can. Never place used coals in plastic, paper or wood containers for disposal.
  • Keep all flammable and hazardous materials out of your waste and recycling containers including lithium ion and rechargeable batteries, paint, chemical products, fluorescent lights, pesticides and oil rags.  Visit your parish or city website to locate Household Hazardous Waste drop off locations in your area.
  • Collect your used lithium ion batteries (from toys, greeting cards and electronics) and rechargeable batteries in small plastic bags and take them to a hardware store or other drop-off point for recycling.
  • Make sure to properly dispose of used fireworks debrisThe National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends soaking used fireworks in water and letting them sit for 15 minutes before disposal. Dispose of all other debris including used matches, wrappers, etc. in your trash can to prevent littering and water contamination from gunpowder residue.

Not only can we be safe, but we can also be environmentally friendly this Independence DayEach year, Americans toss out enough paper plates, plastic cups and disposable utensils to circle the equator 300 times. Using reusable dishware is always best, as it reduces waste going to the landfill. If that is not practical, try to buy environmentally friendly tableware instead. Look for products made from renewable, plant-based materials like sugar cane and bamboo that will biodegrade in compost piles and landfills.

With just a little extra effort, we can all have a safe, fun and eco-friendly Fourth of July.



As North America’s largest environmental solutions provider, WM (WM.com) is “Always Working for a Sustainable Tomorrow.” Previously known as Waste Management and based in Houston, Texas, WM is driven by commitments to put people first and achieve success with integrity. The company provides collection, recycling and disposal services to millions of residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. With innovative infrastructure and capabilities in recycling, organics and renewable energy, WM provides environmental solutions to and collaborates with its customers in helping them achieve their sustainability goals. WM has the largest disposal network and collection fleet in North America, is the largest recycler of post-consumer materials and is the leader in beneficial reuse of landfill gas, with a growing network of landfill gas to renewable natural gas plants and the most landfill gas-to-electricity plants in North America. WM’s fleet includes nearly 11,000 natural gas trucks – the largest heavy-duty natural gas truck fleet of its kind in North America – where more than half are allocated renewable natural gas as transportation fuel. To learn more about WM and the company’s sustainability progress and solutions, visit Sustainability.WM.com.