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Why You Shouldn’t Put Pallets on a Bonfire

November 9, 2018

Why You Shouldn’t Put Pallets on a Bonfire

Bonfire night can be lots of fun but it can also be quite damaging to the environment. We don’t want to come across as the fun police, but we want to make you aware of the harm that can be caused by your bonfire.

Why you shouldn’t burn pallets

Wooden pallets are a common sight on large bonfires as they can be stacked tall and burn ferociously. But putting perfectly good wood on a bonfire is a pretty wasteful thing to do. Even if the pallets are damaged, they can be used to make other things. Once they’re burned, they’re a resource you can never use again, and this means that more trees are felled to make new pallets, which adds to deforestation all over the world.

The problem of deforestation

Even though much of the wood used to make pallets is sourced sustainably, forests and jungles are being destroyed at an alarming rate to meet demand for wood.

Forests cover 31% of the land on earth. They produce the oxygen needed for life, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide a habitat for people and wildlife and 1.6 billion people rely on them for the food, water, clothing, and natural medicine they provide.

We’ve mentioned the destructive effects of deforestation, but forests are also being harmed by fires, agricultural techniques, development, and climate change. To put it in perspective, we’re currently losing the equivalent of 27 football fields every minute.

The Amazon rainforest, home to many of the species that exist in the world, has been reduced by 17% in the past 50 years. Deforestation has been a big problem in both populated areas and remote areas in the region where there are mahogany, gold, and oil resources

Another reason not to burn pallets

Some wooden pallets are treated with chemicals which are released into the atmosphere when the wood is burned. Even if they’re not treated, some pallets, especially those used in industry, might have been exposed to chemicals during use.

So what can you burn on a bonfire?

Dry, non-green garden waste like prunings and brambles

Cardboard and paper

What not to put on a bonfire

Plastic, rubber and painted materials (they release toxic smoke)

Wet or treated wood

Flammable liquids like paraffin or petrol


Aerosols or paint tins

Foam-filled furniture





Household rubbish

Bonfire safety tips

  • Only burn dry material- it causes less smoke
  • Build the bonfire away from fences and trees
  • Check there are no cables above the bonfire
  • Keep children and pets away from the bonfire