Bonfire Night can be a fun and exciting way to celebrate, but it’s important to be mindful of the impact it can have on the environment. This is because burning certain types of materials such as plastics, rubber and treated wood can not only harm the environment, but also the health of people in the vicinity.
Here are some tips to have an eco-friendly Bonfire Night:
Use natural materials:
Use dry, untreated wood and kindling to build your bonfire, and avoid burning anything that could release harmful chemicals into the air. For example avoid burning treated wood, tyres, plastics, rubber, oil or anything made of man-made materials such as plastics, oil, rubber, or with a chemical or plastic coating as these may release harmful toxic substances in the air which can cause health hazards to man and surrounding animals.
Here are some natural materials that you can use for your bonfire:
- Dry sticks and twigs: These are perfect for starting the fire and getting it going. Collect them from fallen branches or deadwood on the ground, but avoid cutting live branches from trees.
- Dry leaves: You can use dry leaves as kindling to help get the fire started. Rake them up from your yard or nearby park.
- Cardboard: If you have any cardboard boxes lying around, you can use them as fuel for your bonfire. Just make sure to remove any tape or labels first.
- Paper: Old newspapers and other types of paper can be used as fuel for the fire as well. Again, make sure to remove any plastic or metal parts before using them.
- Pine cones: Pine cones make great kindling and can be found in abundance in many parks and forests. Just make sure they are completely dry before using them.
Keep it small:
A smaller bonfire will produce less smoke and emit fewer pollutants. Consider having a smaller fire or even a fire pit rather than a large bonfire.
Choose your location wisely:
Make sure your bonfire is located away from trees, bushes, and other vegetation to prevent accidental fires. Consider the direction of the wind to avoid smoke blowing towards neighboring homes. Also check with your local authorities to ensure you are allowed to have a bonfire on your property and to get any necessary permits.
Use sustainable lighting:
Bonfire night can be a great opportunity to come together with family and friends to enjoy the warmth and light of a fire.
Here are some suggestions for sustainable lighting alternatives to make your bonfire night more eco-friendly:
- Solar-powered lights: You can use solar-powered lights to create a warm and cozy atmosphere around your bonfire. These lights are energy-efficient and do not produce any harmful emissions. They can be easily charged during the day and can provide light throughout the night.
- LED lights: LED lights are also an excellent sustainable lighting option for bonfire night. They use less energy and have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. You can use them to decorate your bonfire area and create a festive atmosphere.
- Biodegradable lanterns: If you want to create a magical ambiance, consider using biodegradable lanterns. These lanterns are made from sustainable materials such as bamboo or rice paper, and they can be released into the sky to create a beautiful and environmentally-friendly display.
- Rechargeable torches: Another sustainable lighting option is to use rechargeable torches. These torches can be charged before your bonfire night and can provide light throughout the evening. They are energy-efficient and easy to use, making them an excellent choice for outdoor activities.
Use Eco-friendly fireworks:
Bonfire night without fireworks looks incomplete. However, traditional fireworks can have a negative impact on the environment due to the release of harmful chemicals and debris. To make bonfire night more eco-friendly, you can consider using eco-friendly fireworks, which are designed to minimize the environmental impact.
Eco-friendly fireworks are made with natural materials and without the use of harmful chemicals, such as perchlorate, which is commonly used in traditional fireworks. These fireworks produce less smoke and pollutants and can be easily disposed of without harming the environment. Some eco-friendly fireworks are even biodegradable, which means they break down naturally over time.
When purchasing eco-friendly fireworks for bonfire night, make sure to look for products that are certified by a reputable environmental organization. You can also consider using alternatives to fireworks, such as sparklers or glow sticks, which are safer and more environmentally friendly.
Reduce food waste:
If you’re having a bonfire party, try to reduce food waste by planning your menu carefully and using up leftovers. While it’s an enjoyable occasion, it can also lead to a lot of food waste. Here are some tips to reduce food waste during bonfire night:
- Plan ahead: Before the event, plan how much food you need for your guests. Buy only the necessary amount of food, and avoid overbuying. This can help reduce the amount of food waste.
- Serve finger food: Finger food such as sandwiches, sausages, and cheese platters are easy to prepare and serve. They also produce less waste, as there are no plates or cutlery to dispose of.
- Use reusable plates and cutlery: If you need to use plates and cutlery, consider using reusable ones instead of disposable ones. This can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill.
- Compost food scraps: If you do end up with food scraps, compost them instead of throwing them away. You can use them to fertilize your garden or plants.
- Store leftovers properly: If you have any leftovers, store them in airtight containers and refrigerate them promptly. This can help keep them fresh for longer, and you can enjoy them in the following days.
While bonfires and fireworks are a common way to celebrate, there are several alternative activities that you can consider:
- Laser light shows: Instead of setting off fireworks, consider hosting a laser light show that can be equally as mesmerizing.
- Virtual Bonfire Night: Host a virtual bonfire night celebration with friends and family over video conferencing software like Zoom. You can share stories, have a virtual bonfire, and even make s’mores.
- Stargazing: Bundle up and head outside to watch the stars. Bring along a thermos of hot cocoa or mulled wine to stay warm.
- Indoor Picnic: Have an indoor picnic with bonfire-themed snacks like roasted nuts, s’mores, and hot cider.
- Community bonfire: If you still want to have a bonfire, consider organizing a community event where people can bring their own firewood to contribute to the fire. You can also have live music, food stalls, and other activities to keep everyone entertained.