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Safe disposal of fireworks

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Safe Disposal of damaged or unused fireworks – domestic use fireworks only

This guidance is intended to deal only with consumer fireworks (i.e. those that are to be supplied to members of the public) that have become damaged and which are leaking explosive composition, or have partially functioned.

It should be noted that the safest way of dealing with a firework, that is complete and undamaged, is to function it in accordance with the instructions provided with the firework.

The term 'damaged fireworks' in the context of this guidance means any Category F1, F2 or F3 pyrotechnical article.

  • With a manufacturing fault or mechanical damage to its casing that is causing the explosive composition to leak; or
  • That has failed to function or has partially functioned; or
  • Is in a damp condition.

How to safely dispose of damaged or unused fireworks

Guidance for members of the public:
  • Drowning or submerging the firework in a bucket of water for a specific period of time will render the firework non-explosive. The firework must be soaked right through which may take several hours.
  • In order to avoid possible self-heating the fireworks should be totally immersed in a large volume of water and where necessary weighted down to ensure this.
  • Then subsequent disposal of the soaked firework with domestic rubbish may be an appropriate action for the general public to take. Place the soaked firework(s) in a plastic bag then into the bin.
  • Further guidance on safe disposal of fireworks may be available from the retailer or manufacturer of the firework.
  • This method can and should be used for disposal of fireworks that have functioned correctly.


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There's more advice on firework safety at https://www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/fireworks-safety/

Legal responsibilities for safe disposal

The Law:

  • Regulation 28 Explosives Regulation 2014 (ER14) requires - Any person who discards or disposes of explosives or explosive-contaminated items must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that they are discarded, or disposed of safely.
  • Any person who decontaminates explosive-contaminated items must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that they are decontaminated safely.
  • And, by Order of Secretary of State 11 (3) made under the provisions of the Explosives Act 1875 requires persons not to deposit explosives in receptacles or places appropriated for refuse and states that explosives shall not be handed or forwarded to persons or vehicles employed or appropriated for the removal or conveyance of refuse.
Please remember: Follow all manufacturers' instructions at all times.