Waste warning for bonfire night blaze haze hazard

Using your Guy Fawkes bonfire as an opportunity to burn unwanted old furniture or household waste could really spoil the party, from a haze of risky fumes to the hazard of explosions.

Setting light to rubber, foam or plastic rubbish causes pollution, while burning glass, cans or aerosols risks explosions.  Never put treated wooden furniture, such as old sofas, onto the fire as the paints and preservatives will release noxious or irritating fumes that can harm human and animal health.

If you are planning a bonfire and sure it will be safe and not create a nuisance or health risk, the ideal materials to burn are untreated wood, dry branches and garden wastes, including leaves.  You can also burn cardboard boxes and paper wastes.  Avoid putting on wet garden materials on the fire as these will give off more smoke.

Very smoky or polluting fires, or those that may spread, can attract the attention of the police, fire service or local council.

As with barbecues, if you plan to dispose of embers in your rubbish, ensure they are completely cool or fully damped down to avoid further fire risks in bins, vehicles or on landfill sites.

Once your bonfire party has finished, soak fully spent fireworks in water and then they can be disposed of in your general refuse or taken to a recycling site to be put in the general waste.

Misfired or partly spent fireworks must be soaked in a container of water overnight, until properly sodden, and the manufacturer or supplier should be contacted for guidance on disposal.

For firework safety advice, visit the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service or RoSPA Safer Fireworks websites, so you can stay safe and have a fun and environmentally friendly bonfire night celebration.

If you have unwanted furniture, there are a number of alternatives to burning them.

Furniture and appliance that are still in good condition can be given a new lease of life by being donated to one of the furniture reuse groups around the county.  Unwanted items are often collected for free and the sale of these items supports local families struggling on low incomes.

Another option may be to join a local free exchange group such as Freegle or Freecycle or you can sell your unwanted items via free ads or on-line auction sites.

Alternatively you can take damaged or unsalable furniture items to your local recycling site for disposal or these can be collected for a fee by Somerset Waste Partnership via the bulky waste collection service.  For prices and booking information, click here.

Do not use your bonfire to burn household refuse.  If you require additional recycling containers, click here to order them free of charge, or contact your district council if you need a replacement refuse bin. This may be subject to a replacement fee.

As the burning of wet garden wastes also contributes to poor air quality, the best solution is to compost organic waste at home.

You can purchase competitively priced compost bin and equipment via our composting offer, with 220 litre bins available from £17.98, with a buy one get one half price offer.  For more information, click here.

If you have a lot of garden waste, you can subscribe to the garden waste collection service via your local district council.

PS: Bonfire Night is great for using up food leftovers in snacks, from the fillings for baked potatoes to the extras in anything-goes hotdogs. Check out more ideas on ways to save with food.