Autumn festivities will look a little different this year, with many communities cancelling firework displays over concerns around social distancing. As a result, households up and down the UK will be choosing to celebrate Diwali and Guy Fawkes’ Night at home – but they won’t always know how to dispose of their fireworks.
There is a legal requirement for anyone discarding explosive-contaminated items – including fireworks – to do so safely. This ensures that refuse collection crews aren’t put at unnecessary risk during their weekly rounds.
To help council waste management teams protect your crews, Whitespace has put together an easy-to-follow guide to share with local residents. Feel free to cut-and-paste these 3 steps for your next newsletter, or to post on your social media channels!
How to dispose of fireworks safely, in 3 steps
Step 1 – keep your cool
If you’re planning a home firework display, get your safety protocol in place from the start. Make sure you light ground fireworks at least 35 metres away from any spectators; 150 metres for aerial fireworks. Read the instructions for every firework beforehand, to make sure you’re following manufacturer guidance.
Don’t return to a firework after it has been lit – whether it has gone off or not. It’s vital that all packaging cools down completely before being handled.
Leave firework debris at least an hour after your display before tidying up. You may want to wait until the next morning, when the light is better. When you’re ready, soak all firework paraphernalia (including sparklers) in a bucket of water for at least 15-20 minutes, to make sure there is nothing flammable that could potentially still ignite.
Step 2 – bag them up
Even if fireworks can no longer spark, there are still sharp edges and rough materials that can cause harm. In particular, sparklers have sharp ends that can catch on your hands, or injure the people taking your rubbish away.
Put all your firework debris into a bag, once you’ve finished your display and soaked them in water. This will add an extra layer of protection. It’s also worth reading the box that came with your fireworks, to see if the manufacture offers any further disposal advice.
Step 3 – put them in general household waste
Fireworks cannot be recycled, so please make sure you put them out with your general household rubbish for collection. Putting non-recyclable items into the recycling bin creates extra work for collection crews, which can slow down our service and make it more expensive to run.
Also, remember NEVER to put unused fireworks in the bin. Store them in a cool, dry place in your home or garage – away from electrical appliances – until you next hold a display. Or, contact your local fire station to see if they’re offering an unused firework collection service.
Managing Diwali and Bonfire Night waste
Sharing this 3-step guide is a great way to ensure that home fireworks are disposed of safely by local residents. However, it doesn’t get around the fact that Guy Fawkes and Diwali celebrations often generate higher volumes of waste than usual.
Whether it’s firework debris, food waste or leftovers from small social gatherings, refuse collectors will have more recycling and black-bag rubbish to deal with over the coming weeks. And it’s crucial that local authorities deal with this surge effectively, to prevent a waste management backlog that spills into Christmas.
There are two ways to manage municipal waste peaks effectively. The first is to plan ahead, putting workflows in place to deal with a spike in refuse collections. This places crews on the front foot, so they can meet any challenges that lie ahead.
The second way to cope with an increase in waste is to put real-time reporting systems in place. This means both giving collection crews the in-cab communication tools to provide feedback during their round, and offering local residents digital apps through which they can report any issues.
Invest in the right tools for effective refuse collection
To make waste management seamless – even during busy periods of the year – councils need to give your workforce the right tools for the job. And here’s where Whitespace municipal waste management software can help.
Municipal waste management software is the simplest way to streamline collection services, by channelling all workflows through an online system. These can easily be updated, modified, and shared with team members, including collection crews. Every person involved can access accurate information online, instantly.
In addition, Whitespace offers a number of built-in tools that make it easier to manage peak waste periods, like Bonfire Night. Ad-hoc round sheets can be created in an instant; office staff can communicate with collection crews in real-time; and if residents log any complaints or missed collections, data is integrated straight into the system.
Manage municipal waste better with Whitespace: book your free demo now.