Fireworks, Glitter, Metallics…Recyclable?

BY NICOLE IPSON | July 17, 2018


4th of July is finally passed, the fireworks are over the random popping of personal firecrackers has ended and people are starting to take down their decorations. 4th of July, like Christmas, tends to yield decorations that may not be recyclable. Decorations for the 4th of July tend to have glitter and metallic to mimic fireworks. Some of these things can’t be recycled, so here are some things to keep in mind.


Firework packaging can be made of simple paper, cardboard, and some metals, unfortunately, they are still not good candidates for recycling. Due to fuels and other chemicals added to them to set off beautiful colors they cannot be recycled. Make sure to dispose of dud and old fireworks properly with local firehouses and police departments. Used fireworks packaging should be sent to the landfill with regular trash.

Patriotic ribbons

Some people take the time to place ribbons outside of windows on flower boxes to decorate their homes. Unless these ribbons are paper bass they can’t be recycled. If the ribbons are still in good shape consider packing them away and reusing them for the next Fourth of July. If they’ve been to weathered, Unfortunately, they will have to go in the general waste bin. The decorations tend to get tangled in the recycling machinery and can cause a shut down for a recycling plant.

GLITTERGlitter decorations

A lot of the decorations for the 4th of July tend to mimic fireworks. In doing so there’s a lot of glitter used in these decorations. Whether damaged or worn down these decorations can still not be recycled. Due to the tiny size, it can be missed and pass right through equipment. This, in turn, can cause glitter to contaminate other recycling.  New biodegradable glitters are starting to be used in makeups and will one day be used in decorations.

Metallic decorations

Metallic papers and other toppings that are shimmery cannot be recycled. If a decoration or holiday base toy has any portion of it covered in metallic decor, unfortunately, has to be tossed. Metallic papers and decorations are similar to glitter, because of the way the paper breaks down. Toss any non-crunching metallic paper or decor into your regular waste bin or consider reusing for next year,

Having these decorations for the 4th of July can be fun, but they also end up being harmful to the environment. If you do buy non-recyclable decorations try and use them as much as possible before discarding them. Consider trying to find more environmentally friendly decorations. Look for biodegradable glitter and recycle friendly decorations for next years festivities. Landfills are becoming overburdened and causing environmental issues. Recycling will help to keep our country clean so we can continue to celebrate its beauty!

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