Bonfire Night is a popular event for families across the UK but as we become increasingly conscious of the environment, it’s important to consider the impact this annual event has. The effects on air quality and wildlife can’t be ignored, but with a little consideration, bringing a bit of light-hearted fun to the darker nights doesn’t have to be guilt ridden.
Check out our top tips for creating an eco-friendly anniversary of the gunpowder plot - stick a Fawkes in him, he’s done!
Build your bonfire with natural wood
Bonfires can give off a lot of smoke which isn’t good news for air quality. To reduce the amount of smoke that yours makes, try to burn only dry, clean and natural materials.
Avoid manmade materials like rubber, plastics, oil or anything with a plastic or chemical coating, as these will create all sorts of airborne nasties. Even making some small adjustments will massively reduce the amount of smoke your fire produces – such as not using firelighters, and using dry leaves for kindling.
Look out for wildlife
A big pile of wood is a tempting home for all manner of little critters, especially your local hedgehogs. Eliminate the risk of harming them by building your fire just before you light it.
If you’ve been storing wood to burn, make sure you transport it to another spot to make your flaming centrepiece. That way you can be sure to leave any animals safely out of harm’s way.
Choose eco fireworks
These are available but a little hard to find and still relatively expensive. Technology and science haven’t advanced enough to make a cost-effective alternative, but there are ways you can reduce your individual impact.
Generally, white coloured fireworks will have fewer harmful chemicals than the more colourful versions and if you use more of the ground-based ones, like Catherine wheels, there’s less chance of having debris that you can’t find and dispose of safely.
Avoid sky lanterns
Although sky lanterns don’t need lots of nasty chemicals to launch, they pose a significant risk to wildlife. With no control over where they’re going, they can end up just about anywhere.
The wire in the lanterns has been responsible for animals getting trapped and has even ended up in animal feed. They may be beautiful to look at but the risks far outweigh the benefits.
Attend a public display
To make your celebrations as eco-friendly as possible, gather in one place for a bigger display. This’ll result in fewer emissions than lots of smaller garden events. It can also be a great way to support local community groups and charities that may be raising funds for a good cause.
Whatever your plans for the event, make your celebrations as considerate as you can. Remember to keep pets indoors and as far away from the loud bangs as possible, and also spare a thought for your human neighbours.
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