How to have an eco-friendly bonfire night (that’s still fun)

It’s official – the sudden drop in temperature has welcomed November, and that means that Bonfire Night is nearly here!bonfire night, sparkler, eco, eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, green

While Guy Fawkes’ night falls on the 5th November, celebrations will be ongoing all the way through to the weekend, so there couldn’t be a better time to think of any last-minute ways to make your celebrations as eco-friendly as possible.

Fun is foremost, but there are plenty of methods to integrate into your celebrations to ease any green-guilt. Take a read of our list, and remember-remember to heed our advice (see what we did there?)

Build a greener bonfire

The emissions from bonfire night are much more prolific than you might think.  In 2012, the government stated that celebrations for bonfire night had a worse effect on our UK’s air quality than emissions from the country’s waste incinerators for an entire year.

It’s a staggering statistic, but one we can drastically reduce by sticking to a few simple rules.  Try to only burn dry, clean and natural materials.  These could be products such as untreated wood or waste from your own garden.  Don’t burn any manmade materials such as plastics, oil, rubber, or anything with a chemical or plastic coating, as these all produce huge amounts of pollutants.

Small switches – such as steering clear of firelighters and using dry leaves for kindling – will massively reduce the amount of smoke your fire produces.

Keep your bonfire casualty free

One of the risks of building bonfires is that they are a dream home for small animals, who will inevitably take the real estate plunge and move in.

If collecting wood for a fire over an extended period of time, pile it all in a heap and then assemble it into your bonfire base in the desired location on the day.  This will help prevent any casualties from critters who like to nest in cosy bundles of wood and twigs (and is a lot easier than building a bonfire a week in advance and trying to check if you’ve gained any furry friends afterwards). bonfire night, bonfire, environmentally friendly, eco friendly, green

Clean fireworks

We thought they were an urban myth – but eco-friendly fireworks do exist, even if they are a little hard to find.

New technologies mean that there are now fireworks available that use compressed air instead of gunpowder to fire the shells, which is what Disneyland switched to for their world-renowned displays back in 2004.  Research is also being conducted into using nitrogen-based fuel, which burns cleaner and lessens smoke.

Some people recommend releasing Chinese lanterns into the skies instead, which can be a pretty spectacular sight.  However, with no ability to control where these floating candles land, many prefer to steer clear in order to protect unwitting animals in nearby fields.

Be aware of your environment

It’s well known that pets don’t like loud and unexpected explosions, so it’s worth warning your neighbours if you’re planning on lighting fireworks in a populated area.  Also be aware of your human neighbours, who may be of a sensitive disposition and would appreciate a little advance warning.

If you’re countryside-bound, spare a thought for any wildlife in the surrounding areas.  If you’re really conscientious, choose quiet or ground-only pyrotechnics such as fountain fireworks and Catherine wheels.

Feel the community spirit

The easiest way of reducing any bonfire night related risk?  Attend a public celebration, where you can share in the fun of a pre-built bonfire without adding to the emissions that night yourself.

Odds are likely they’ll have a better fireworks display than the handful of slightly damp and fizzling rockets you were planning to have in your back garden.  Not to mention there’s a lot less safety planning involved as well.  Pack gloves, sparklers and toffee apples, and enjoy!

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