The 5th of November marks the annual celebration of Guy Fawkes Night – otherwise known as Bonfire Night – commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. As we look forward to an evening of extravagant firework shows and bonfire displays, it’s important to consider not just our personal safety, but the appropriate disposal of waste generated throughout the night.
For the sake of safety and the protection of surrounding environments, attending organised displays is always recommended. However, if you are hosting your own garden display, it’s essential to take all appropriate precautions. Fireworks are not environmentally friendly – whether used or not, they’re non-recyclable and hazardous if disposed of incorrectly. Here are some recommended steps for safe disposal:
Soak – before you commence, have a water source (such as a bucket or hose) at the ready for any emergency. After use, submerge fireworks until thoroughly cooled and no embers remain. Do the same with unused fireworks for at least a few hours.
Collect – keep an eye on firework debris as it scatters from explosion and collect when it is safe to do so. Fireworks contain various materials which can pollute waters and ecosystems, so collecting all debris is important.
Wrap – put your firework waste into plastic bin bags, wrap securely, and seal. This will help prevent the explosives from drying.
Dispose – once the appropriate precautions have been taken, fireworks should be safe to be disposed of in your general waste or at your local waste centre – but if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to contact a local authority for more information.
It can be tempting to throw any old rubbish onto the flames of a bonfire, knowing it’ll only be reduced to ash. However, what you think you’re successfully disposing of could in fact have harmful lasting effects on your health, and the environment. Common materials discarded at bonfire events (such as plastic bottles, cutlery, coffee cup lids, and polystyrene cups) can release toxic chemicals and smoke when burned. That’s why knowing what is and isn’t safe to burn is essential during this time of year. Here’s our list:
Safe to burn:
Dry materials, such as paper and cardboard
Untreated wood, such as sticks and logs
Not safe to burn:
Damp waste, or garden waste
Plastic cups, cutlery, and PVC
Tyres, or other rubber materials
Paint, or materials containing paint
Wondering what to do with the ash waste that remains? You may not realise ash is a highly versatile substance – here are a few ways it can be repurposed:
Garden Fertilizer – breath new life into your garden with leftover ash. Water-soluble and a useful source of organic nutrients, it’ll boost pH levels in soils and help plants and vegetables thrive.
Cleaning – mixing ash with a little water creates a mild abrasive, making it a low-cost and nifty cleaner – perfect for buffing metals, ridding of stubborn stains, and eliminating grime.
Pest Control – ash can serve as an effective insect repellent, warding off bothersome insects such as ants, slugs and snails.
With that, from all of the team at RVS, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Guy Fawkes Night.