NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The most common causes for fires in garbage or recycling trucks are hot barbecue coals and ashes, pool chemicals, paint, lighter fluid, propane tanks, lithium-ion, rechargeable batteries, and fireworks.
Waste Management wants to remind residents these flammable materials create an unsafe situation, especially during this upcoming holiday weekend.
Waste Management offers these safety tips for flammable household waste:
- Hot coals or ashes should never be placed in a trash container.
- Cool 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 it 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/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 debris. The National Council on Fireworks Safety advises 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.
Waste Management also urges residents to take care of the environment when celebrating by using reusable dishware or buy environmentally friendly tableware.
According to the Waste Management press release, each year Americans toss out enough paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable utensils to circle the equator 300 times.