How to have a greener Bonfire Night

How to have a greener Bonfire Night

Thu 03 Nov 2011

If you're gearing up for some Fawkes-bashing fun on the 5th take a moment to read Joanna's tips on burning up without burning out.

Fireworks and bonfires can emit a nasty cocktail of chemicals, from carbon monoxide to heavy metals, dioxins and sulphur compounds, damaging air quality and human health. 14% of the UK’s annual dioxin emissions happen on and around 5th November each year.

So remember this 5th of November to make your celebrations as eco-friendly as possible. Here’s how:

Minimise the impact of fireworks and bonfires by going to a public event rather than having your own at home. If you’re organising an event yourself try the Blackboxx environmentally friendly firework system ( - a reloadable, fuseless fireworks battery, which helps reduce the use of raw materials as well as your carbon footprint.

If you have to use conventional fireworks, avoid multi-coloured products which contain the most chemicals.Tiny Blow Light wind generators ( which power mini LED lights are great long-lasting alternatives to sparklers for kids.

Make bonfires from dry garden waste and untreated waste wood. Avoid burning plastics, household rubbish, aerosols, rubber tyres or anything containing foam or paint as they produce toxic fumes. Rather than paraffin or oil-based accelerants use small amounts of leaves, card and paper for kindling. Build your fire well away from plants and wildlife, and don’t make it too far in advance or hedgehogs may hibernate in it! The day after Guy Fawkes dig bonfire ash into the ground to improve soil quality.

To fuel the celebrations stock up on organic wine and cider, make pumpkin soup using up Halloween leftovers and treat the kids to homemade toffee apples and a round of apple bobbing using crisp English apples.

A version of this blog appeared in Joanna's monthly 'Good Life' column in Country Homes & Interiors Magazine, November 2011