The 5th of November celebrates Guy Fawkes Night – also known as bonfire or fireworks night – and the annual commemoration is traditionally celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. As beautiful as the sight of roaring fires and all sorts of colourful patterns in the sky, let’s not forget the importance of not just our safety, but the waste generated throughout the night.
With the flickering flames in front of us, it can be tempting to throw whatever rubbish you may have in your hands, bag, or even on the floor, knowing the fire will burn it to ash. But what you may be ‘recycling’ could be very harmful to not just the environment but our health too. Common materials carried at local bonfire events could involve plastic bottles, cutlery and coffee cup lids, or even polystyrene cups when burned release toxic chemicals and smoke that can damage the nervous system and our lungs.
Knowing what you can and can’t burn is very important this time of year, especially fireworks which include gunpowder and will explode when treated incorrectly. We have put a small list together of items that are recyclable by fire.
- Paper plates and napkins
- Cardboard cups and boxes
- Wooden cutlery or sticks
- Plastic Cups, Cutlery and PVC
- Tyres and other rubber materials
- Paint or any material with paint on
Once the fire goes out and the last firework bangs, you may then ask yourself ‘What am I going to do with the ash waste?’ and you may not know but the ash waste can be reused and recycled. Ash is a very useful subsistence and has a wide array of uses such as:
- Boosting your lawn – Ash can be used to boost the pH of soil quickly since ash is more water-soluble. This means that certain flowers and vegetables can thrive by absorbing the nutrients that may be missing, accelerating growth.
- Cleaning – For a cost-free glass and metal cleaner, ash mixed with a bit of water forms a paste that can then be used as a mild abrasive to buff up metals, remove adhesives and sticky residue and even clean dirty glass.
- Keep away harmful bugs – Ashes could be used to keep away pests such as slugs and snails and can even repel ants.
- Soak up spills – If you have spillages that could stain, use ash to absorb the spill. Once the ash has dried, simply sweep or wipe over the area to remove it.
With all that being said, we hope that you have a safe Guy Fawkes Night, and enjoy spending time with either your friends, family, or even in your own company. The sight of a well-programmed firework display, supported by a big bonfire can make anyone smile!