Bonfire night might be the one celebration this year that feels more or less normal – as we can appreciate fireworks and enjoy the warmth of a blazing bonfire outdoors from a distance

While the gunpowder plotters wanted to destroy parliament in 1605, it turns out our modern-day celebrations can have a destructive effect too. Did you know all the bonfires and fireworks from this one night can have a worse effect on the UK’s air quality than the emissions from the country’s waste incinerators over a whole year?*   

If it’s possible, attending a community bonfire or public firework display rather than having your own will have a much lower impact than everyone lighting their own fires. However, if you can't join a community event this year and still want to celebrate, here are ten tips to plot it like it's hot and have a bonfire that's better for the environment and animals too!

1) Less fire, s'more snacks

Isn't there a saying "no smores without a fire"? Well, enjoy your favourite bonfire snacks without the hassle of building and lighting a fire, as marshmallows can be roasted at indoors over a hob. Try some homemade smores with our famous pumpkin cookies (to use up any leftover Halloween pumpkin) heated in the grill with melting marshmallows and chocolate spread. Perfect for bonfire night feelings and curling up on the sofa.  

2) Wrap up warm

Stay toasty while enjoying the outdoors by bundling up, taking a seasonal hot drink in a thermos to warm you from the inside-out and preparing DIY handwarmer rather than buying one.

3) Set a friendly fire

Having a bonfire at home? Burn only clean, dry and natural materials, like untreated wood and garden waste, to minimise pollution. Burning plastics or manmade materials releases harmful chemical pollutants and lowers air quality.  

4) Up sticks for critters 

Building your bonfire on the day means animals don’t have time to nest in the logs and twigs. If you're planning to burn a pile of logs that's been around for a while, check for small animals like hedgehogs and fieldmice before lighting, as these are ideal hibernation spots.   

5) Gone with the wind

Still not sure when to host your bonfire? Check the weather forecast and go for a windier day as still air can mean pollution hangs (no drawing and quartering) over one place. 

6) Sparkle bright

If you’re looking for that glittering glow, then sparklers are a good alternative to fireworks! They have a lower impact on air quality and are easy to clean up after. Although remember the proper safety measures when handling them. 

7) Pass on the flying colours

Still a firework type of Guy? Choosing white colour fireworks over coloured fireworks can still make a difference, as bright colours are produced by different combinations of chemicals and metals which are released into the atmosphere. 

8) Not rocket science

Did you know many aerial fireworks are built inside plastic casings that scatter plastic over a wide area when they go off? Choosing smaller or ground-level fireworks are easier to clean up. 

9) Turn away from lanterns

Sky lanterns might be less polluting than fireworks but their wireframes are a significant risk to wildlife and livestock who can ingest or become entangled in them. As an alternative, try decorating an area with fairy lights or outdoor lamps instead to create a magical outdoor experience. 

10) Shut doors and windows

Remember to close the doors and windows behind you if you go outside; it's good for lowering the volume for pets inside but also for keeping all the warmth in and saving energy and on bills. 

Let us know if you've got any other tips and how you'll be celebrating this yearHopefully, we can have a 5th of November that the environment won't remember! #LiveSavvy 

Sparked your interest? 

With the weather turning colder and wetter, try these tips for saving on heating bills.   

* "Bonfire night ‘more polluting’ than waste incinerators", Air Quality News, 5 November 2012