The summer is in full swing, and this July 4th weekend, Republic Services encourages you to incorporate safety and environmental responsibility into your festivities with these practical tips:

  1. The safest way to dispose of used and unused fireworks is to submerge them in water before disposal. Safely disposing your soaked fireworks debris, including used matches, in a trash container not only mitigates the risk of fire, it also helps to prevent littering.
  2. After a cookout or backyard barbeque, be sure to allow charcoal ashes to safely cool. Then, carefully put the charcoal in cold water to accelerate the cooling process. Once completely cool, wrap charcoal in aluminum foil. Now, the charcoal is ready to be safely disposed of in a trash container.
  3. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans throw out more than 25 percent – 25.9 million tons – of food every year. Careful meal planning and mindful grocery shopping can help curb food waste. In addition to making a shopping list, send leftovers home with guests to further reduce food waste.
  4. Consider using washable serveware whenever possible. If that’s not possible, try to buy environmentally friendly, disposable serveware, such as products made from ecofriendly, biodegradable or recycled material.

In addition, always make sure your recyclables are EMPTY, CLEAN and DRY before tossing them in the recycling container. Remember:

  1. Empty: Remove any remaining food or liquid contents from your recyclable item before placing it in a recycling container;
  2. Clean: Lightly rinse the recyclable item to remove any remaining residue; and
  3. Dry: Gently shake out excess water or let the recyclable item air-dry before placing it in a recycling container.

By adopting Empty. Clean. Dry., you can do your part to help reduce materials contamination at the curb so that recyclables are repurposed into new materials as intended.

“When it comes to being more sustainable, our customers want to do the right thing and we are here to help them,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services. “As you plan your holiday picnics and barbeques, consider ways to minimize the impact your activities might have on the environment. We want everyone to have a safe and environmentally responsible Fourth of July.”

Known as the Blue Planet™ sustainability initiative, Republic Services is defining its approach to corporate social responsibility through reduced emissions from operations, materials management, safety, community engagement and employee growth opportunities. To view Republic’s Sustainability Report, visit

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