Nicky Roeber is a dad-of-two, an avid gardener, a keen percussionist and the Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres. Nicky’s love for gardening has always been prominent since being younger and creating vegetable patches with his brothers. Since then, he has had two daughters of his own to share these traditions with. In this article, Nicky will be giving his top tips for having a fantastic eco-friendly Bonfire Night with your kids.
Gearing up for Bonfire Night with the kids? Guy Fawkes Night is a fun family night, and, if you’re planning on hosting your own bonfire for them and their friends, you’re bound to be busy thinking about what fireworks, games, and food you’ll need.
But with the occasion creating huge amounts of air pollution, as well as putting wildlife in danger, you should consider how you can make your November 5th as eco-friendly as possible. Here, I will be sharing my top tips to help you.
Build a greener bonfire
The smoke from bonfires can pollute the air and, with so many people across the UK participating in Bonfire Night, it’s important that we all take steps to reduce the harm we do to the environment. You can limit the amount of nasty chemicals released into the air by using only natural materials, such as leaves and untreated wood as well as paper and card, for kindling. This will be particularly important if your children have Asthma or other breathing difficulties, as these nasties can stay in the air long after the bonfire and affect the air quality they breathe in.
Collecting natural materials well in advance of Bonfire Night will lessen the chances of you throwing plastic, rubber and other toxic household waste onto the fire to bulk it out.
Check for wildlife
Most people will start making their bonfire pile ahead of the day and, while this is good preparation, it can pose danger to nesting wildlife that may crawl underneath it. To deter any animals from getting too close, you should move any food or feeders you’ve laid out for them far away at least a week before the event to give them the opportunity to get used to the new area. Additionally, you’ll want to put up a fence around your bonfire to keep both wildlife and your kids from getting too close.
Even once you’ve taken precautions to deter wildlife from getting close, you should always check under the kindling and listen for any signs of life before you light the fire. However, it can be easy to miss smaller animals like field mice, so light the bonfire on one side first to give them a chance to escape if there is anything hiding underneath.
Choose white fireworks
Although your kids are sure to love colourful fireworks, white ones are eco-friendlier, as they don’t contain as many toxic chemicals. If you can’t find completely white fireworks, go for red and blue ones as these contain less toxins than other ones. When lighting fireworks, you should always make sure your kids are well out of the way and that little ones have earmuffs on to protect their ears from loud bangs and sudden sounds.
If you’d rather steer clear of fireworks, you can add colour to other areas of your Bonfire Night by adding showstoppers, such as glow sticks for your kids to enjoy. You can even get coloured sparklers, which are better for the environment than fireworks as they let off fiery sparks rather than explode — just make sure that your child’s hands are gloved when holding these as they can get very hot. Where you can, you should avoid lighting sky lanterns as, although they don’t have too much of an impact on air quality, you can’t be sure where they will end up and they can cause harm to both land and livestock. Plus, due to the open flame they’re not particularly kid-friendly either!
Attend a public bonfire display
If your kids are desperate to see colourful fireworks and huge bonfires, instead of creating your own you could head to a public bonfire display. Not only will this mean there will be fewer emissions being released into air on the night, but it’s a good way for your kids to meet other local children.
As well as providing them with an unforgettable firework display, these public bonfires usually have food stalls and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. So, be sure to suggest this idea to them before organising your own at-home display and to keep an eye on them at all times at these busy events.
Bonfire Night is bound to be an exciting time for your kids, but it can have a detrimental effect on the environment with the amount of harmful emissions it releases into the air and the dangers it poses to wildlife. But, with my top tips for a greener Bonfire Night you can still create an unforgettable occasion for your kids.