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J&B Recycling Knowledge

Planning An Eco Friendly Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the 5th of November…

It’s bonfire night! On the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot, we celebrate his failure with huge bonfires and sparkling fireworks. Although this day is enjoyed by many, there are prominent consequences of this historic day that ought to be recognised, those are the negative environmental effects that are caused due to these celebrations.

Bonfires and fireworks release toxic chemicals such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide which can negatively affect the local air quality and therefore negatively affect our health. 14% of the UK’s annual dioxin emissions are released around the Bonfire Night celebrations every year. Because everyone is celebrating this event at the same time, the toxic cocktail of chemicals released are heavily concentrated into our environment.

It’s not all doom and gloom however, there are many ways to celebrate Bonfire Night while also keeping the safety of our environment, and ourselves, in mind.

A great way to still enjoy the 5th November fireworks and bonfire celebrations in an eco-friendly way is to attend locally organised events. Not only is this causing significantly less pollution, there are extra benefits that you may not get at home. Many organised events will have huge, spectacular firework displays, as well as other activities for children and local food stalls!

Why not create a sense of community? If large crowds are not your thing, another great way to throw eco-friendly celebrations is to host a bonfire or firework display for your whole street. Not only will this cause less pollution, you may also avoid disputes with your neighbours over the loud celebrations or heavy smoke.

Or maybe you could avoid pollution altogether by cutting out the bonfires and fireworks and instead exploring the beauty of nature this 5th November, after all, the event has been re-invented in recent years as a celebration of light and colour. Get on your winter coat and celebrate the beautiful autumnal colours of a nature walk, something for the whole family to enjoy, including the dog!

Free local events to attend:

Stockton Firework Display

When: Sunday 7th November @ 5pm

Where: Stockton’s Riverside

Seaham Firework Display

When: Friday 5th November @ 4pm

Where: Seaham sea front

Darlington Firework Display

When: Saturday 6th November

Where: Middleton St George Cricket and Social Club

Northallerton Firework Display and Bonfire

When: Friday 5th November @ 6:30pm

Where: Applegarth car park

If you are building a bonfire on private property, here’s how to do it safely for yourself and the environment:

  • Avoid building your bonfire when the air pollution levels are high, this information is often found in your local weather reports. Similarly, avoid lighting your bonfire in the wrong weather conditions. On damp days, smoke can remain in the air for longer periods of time, however on a windy, more crisp day, the smoke will better disperse into the air.
  • Burn only dry materials. Burning household waste, rubber or plastic materials and paint can harm not only the environment but also yourself and the people around the bonfire.
  • Avoid using engine oils and petrol to encourage your bonfire.
  • Never leave your bonfire unattended. Ensure that once your celebrations are over, the fire is doused with water and is not left to smoulder.
  • Check your bonfire before lighting it for any signs of wildlife that may have buried into it.

Unfortunately, used and unused fireworks cannot be recycled. Once used, the remaining element of the firework should be soaked in water to ensure there is no flammable material remaining. Sparklers are also non-recyclable as they are coated in flammable matter. In order to safely dispose of fireworks and sparklers, place them in your general waste bin, but remember to ensure they have been soaked in water and have fully cooled.

It is always crucial to remember the importance of safety when handling fireworks, below are some tips to ensure you keep yourself and others safe this Bonfire Night:

  • Using a smooth hard surface, ensure that the fireworks are isolated to one spot. This makes them safer and easier to clean the debris, which will also be safer for the environment as a result!
  • Before clearing the used firework debris, ensure that they are completely extinguished and cooled.
  • Do not attempt to recycle used fireworks, the chemicals used in fireworks can contaminate recyclable waste.
  • Do not attempt to re-light a firework that failed to go off. Wait no less than 20 minutes and soak it in water to ensure it won’t ignite.

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