Bonfire and fireworks night is undoubtedly a popular event for many. Usually, it’s a chance to gather with friends and family, wrapped up in your warmest attire, to admire the visions of vibrant colours that cascade across the sky. This year, it may be a little different. With most public firework displays having been cancelled due to current Covid restrictions, the only alternative is to go without, or have your very own household fireworks night in your garden.
If you are opting to host some fireworks this year for your family, then it is certainly a good idea to consider how you can do this in the most eco-friendly and conscious way possible. Attending a public firework display was the most environmentally-friendly way to view fireworks due to the collective nature of these events, but since that is no longer possible, there are still ways you can be more eco-conscious this Guy Fawkes Night.
We can all be inclined to a spot of glitz and glamour when firework night comes around. The thrill of watching the sky as it’s filled with an abundance of colour is something that many of us never tire of. Having been enjoyed by the masses for years, traditional fireworks today are still made with the same essential elements; potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal. As you can imagine, they emit large amounts of smoke, unused chemicals and metal by-products as a result of the rainbow of colours available.
Whilst eco-friendly fireworks are not currently widely accessible, there are some options that have been created to reduce the amount of pollution produced. Opting to buy eco-friendly fireworks may be more expensive, but you’ll be rest assured that you are having a lesser effect on the environment. These more environmentally friendly products are made using clean-burning, nitrogen-based fuel, where an oxidiser is not required, and the smaller amounts of metal salts means the glorious colours can still be produced but at a lesser cost to the planet.
If you are looking for a more cost-friendly alternative to being more eco this bonfire night, then opt for white coloured fireworks that have fewer harmful chemicals than their colourful variants, and ground-based ones like sparklers, Catherine wheels and fountains that allow easier clean-up of debris that you can dispose of safely.
Few would deny the beauty that can be produced by sky lanterns, as they bounce playfully across the sky. But, did you know that these small hot air balloons made of paper can be detrimental to the environment and wildlife? They may look spectacular as they float away, but where exactly is the lantern going to end up? Unfortunately, it could end up in a nearby tree and cause a blaze, or it could be a danger to wildlife, who may become entangled in the wired frame, or ingest part of the material. Although there are many online vendors that sell “eco-friendly” alternatives with biodegradable materials, the lanterns still pose a threat to wildlife as they remain burning and float to the ground, so are best avoided.
Firework night can be a scary time of year for wildlife, as their habitats become infiltrated with loud noises and bright flashes of light. It is always wise to be mindful of the animals that may be in your garden this November. When it comes to bonfires, it is particularly important to ensure that no animals have decided to make your wood pile their home. Since small animals such as hedgehogs may not be as easy to spot as others, it is a good idea to move all of the materials you intend to burn on the day, to the spot where you will be lighting it, to ensure you notice any wildlife who have decided to settle in for the evening.
Many pets can also become distressed by the sounds of fireworks, so ensure you take the needs of your pets and other wildlife in your area into consideration before going ahead with your evening of entertainment.
It is tempting when Guy Fawkes night comes around to build a bonfire and burn any old rubbish that you’ve been meaning to take to the recycling centre. When you see a bonfire that is producing lots of excess smoke and fumes, the likelihood is that it isn't simply natural materials that are burning.
Burning certain types of materials such as rubber, plastic, oils, or any chemically-coated furniture causes a terrible amount of air pollution. Try to avoid throwing on mattresses, wardrobes, or household rubbish, and instead opt for paper, leaves, wood and cardboard. These more natural materials will emit far less smoke, and likely produce a much more contained and clean fire pit that looks great under the night sky, and most importantly, keeps you nice and warm for the evening.
Last but certainly not the least important, is cleaning anything left over from your firework display or bonfire. This includes any paper casings, materials that did not burn, remains from sparklers, or fallen debris. This will help wildlife avoid ingesting any harmful chemicals or sharp objects as they make their way around your garden on the morning of 6th November. Not only will you have a nice clean space again, you’ll be especially popular with the thankful wild animals that populate your garden.
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