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Lewes bonfire - firework safety

Guidance for the safe disposal of fireworks

How do you dispose of spent fireworks?

Wear strong gloves and use tongs to collect spent fireworks and sparklers.

  • SOAK IT - soak them in water overnight to ensure there is no chance of them setting anything alight;
  • BAG IT - collect all the spent fireworks in a bag; and
  • BIN IT - put them in the rubbish bin (not the recycling bin).

Never ever put anything hot in your bin, such as fireworks, sparklers, bonfire/BBQ ashes or disposable BBQs.

How do you dispose of used sparklers?

Put used sparklers hot end down straight into a bucket of sand or water to cool fully. Soak in overnight then bag them up and put them in the rubbish bin.

Sparklers are not recyclable because the metal is coated with fuels and oxidisers, so they can't be recycled with other metals.

How do you dispose of damaged fireworks?

If a firework is damaged, faulty, leaking or damp, submerge it in a bucket of water overnight to render it non-explosive. The firework must be soaked right through, so it is best to weigh them down and soak them overnight. Place the soaked fireworks into a plastic bag then into your rubbish bin at home.

Never attempt to re-light a firework that doesn't go off. Soak it in water overnight to make sure it won't ignite.

We cannot accept damaged fireworks at Household Waste Recycling Sites.

How do you dispose of unused fireworks?

The safest way to dispose of unused fireworks is to set them off in accordance with the instructions provided with the fireworks, then follow the guidance above for spent fireworks.

If you have a large quantity of unused fireworks, for example from a cancelled display, you may need to contact a specialist disposal company to collect and dispose of them in a safe manner. Please remember to store any unused fireworks away from sources of ignition and other combustible items. Keep them secure and don't let them become wet or damp. 

We cannot accept unused fireworks at Household Waste Recycling Sites and you must not put them in your rubbish bin at home.

Can fireworks be recycled?

Fireworks cannot be recycled, but you can recycle any cardboard or plastic film packaging that they come in as along as the packaging is completely empty.

Never put any fireworks in your recycling bin at home because they will contaminate not just your recycling, but potentially all the recycling collected that day from your neighbourhood. This can result in the entire load of recycling being rejected and sent to landfill because of the serious risk to the safety of people collecting your waste and processing it at the recycling facility.

Further Information

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents