How can you actually have a sustainable New Year's Eve without fireworks? Then you are absolutely right here! For centuries, people have been blowing up fireworks at the turn of the year. "Somehow it's part of it" is probably the most common reason given for this. Fireworks on New Year's Eve are, of course, an old tradition, but that doesn't make them any less loud, dangerous or polluting. Traditions, too, may of course be questioned and adapted.
In this article, I would like to show you how to celebrate New Year's Eve in the most sustainable way possible. You will learn the motives, useful tips, inspiration for dishes and activities, cities without fireworks, as well as ideas for New Year's resolutions, so that you can master the end of the year as ecologically as possible. Let's go!
Here you can find a short overview in advance:
Reasons: Why should you even celebrate New Year's Eve sustainably without fireworks?
Yes, fireworks are a beautiful thing - especially when you can use them to welcome the New Year. It has been a tradition in Europe since 1379. It is supposed to drive away evil spirits and brings us people together at the turn of the year.
However, apart from these advantages, this centuries-old tradition also brings with it many disadvantages, which are known as Motivation for a sustainable New Year celebration can serve. In the following, I would like to briefly explain the most important reasons before we move on to the practical tips.
1. garbage in the environment
Fireworks are deliberately shooting garbage into the environment. At the hotspots of the five largest German cities alone, the following waste is generated on New Year's Eve About 200 tons garbage.₁ Not only the Rockets, firecrackers and their packaging get into nature with all the joy of the turn of the year. The contained Pollutants and toxins are washed out by the rain and ultimately also pose a threat to the environment.
2. fine dust in the air
From the first second of the new year, particulate matter pollution in Germany is as high as at any other time of the year. This accelerates the climate change and is hazardous to health - especially for asthmatics, children and people with a chronic lung condition.
3. accident hazard
In addition to the fine dust pollution, the high accident risk from rockets, firecrackers and other fireworks also speaks in favor of an environmentally friendly New Year's Eve without fireworks. Through Cross-fired rockets and unauthorized firecrackers unfortunately, many people are seriously injured directly or indirectly.
This can radically change a person's life from one day to the next.
Both Children but especially also Birds, dogs, cats, cows, pigs, chickens and in general also all wild animals are very irritated and frightened by the loud fireworks at the turn of the year.
The noise is avoidable and a good reason to put a stop to traditional fireworks on New Year's Eve, don't you think?
Good to know: Besides the volume, it is also the Light pollution, which causes irritation in the animal world.
On New Year's Eve, we humans literally chase our hard earned and saved money in the form of rockets and firecrackers into the air. Some people spend several thousand euros on them. Can't that money be put to more sensible use?
In any case, investing in fireworks at the turn of the year is not only a polluting, but also a rather short-lived and expensive pleasure. All the more reason to stop - and proof that you can save money through sustainable behavior can.
More than 97 percent of the fireworks sold worldwide come from from exploitative factories in China and India.₃
There, firecrackers and rockets are produced manually because it is cheaper. In this seasonal business, unskilled workers not only receive low wages, but are also often unable to assess the dangers of their profession. Accordingly, it comes in the fireworks factories, major fires and explosions with fatalities frequently occur..₄ Also Child labor is not uncommon in factories.₅
7. role model function
Blowing up fireworks on New Year's Eve is not particularly exemplary. After all, children also eventually come into the Age at which they are more confident and possibly do crazy things with firecrackers and rockets.. It makes more sense to show them directly that you can celebrate New Year's Eve without fireworks.
Unfortunately, it often does not remain with the traditional use of fireworks on New Year's Eve. Many people take advantage of the noise and confusion at the turn of the year to Drinking alcohol, blowing off steam, damaging things, breaking into houses or to attack other people. A sustainable New Year's Eve celebration, on the other hand, is a bit quieter and more manageable - and doesn't provide the chaos needed for vandalism.
10 tips: How to celebrate New Year's Eve sustainably?
There is clearly more to be said for celebrating New Year's Eve sustainably and without fireworks. In order to Protect your own health, the well-being of all animals and, of course, your own walletIf you don't like the way things are going, you should simply approach the turn of the year differently this year and in the future.
So far so good. But how can you make New Year's Eve as socially acceptable as possible in practice, as well as animal and environmentally friendly? Here I have the promised, valuable tips, which you can implement yourself quite easily, without bending totally.
1. refrain from fireworks and firecrackers
Less waste, particulate matter, noise, risk, vandalism, exploitation and costs. If you want to celebrate New Year's Eve in a sustainable way, the first big step towards an environmentally friendly turn of the year is already done by not buying firecrackers, rockets or other fireworks for yourself and others.
You still want to start the new year with a traditional fireworks display? Then you should at least go to public fireworks events and not also blow up rockets in private. If you absolutely want to shoot firecrackers, then it is also advisable to do it in places where many people gather and many fireworks are lit anyway: in the city centerinstead of the quiet village.
Tip: In many cities there are now also really cool Light or laser shows in the sky, making the turn of the year much quieter and more environmentally friendly!
2. cook an environmentally friendly New Year's Eve dinner
What could be better than eating your way into the new year with family and friends? Of course, a sustainable New Year's Eve also includes a sustainable feast. Whether Raclette, fondue, lentil soup, doughnuts or fire tongs punch - all this is also wonderfully organic, vegetable and just sustainable possible!
3. wax casting instead of lead casting
In many places it is traditional to pour lead on New Year's Eve and use it to oracle possible events in the new year. However, the pouring of lead is extremely harmful to health, since heating produces toxic lead oxides that can enter the respiratory tract and impair brain function, among other things.
Meanwhile, sets in the EU may also only have a maximum lead content of 0.3 percent. The Stiftung Warentest recommends but generally to start the new year unleaded.₂
Fortunately, the resulting wax formations can also be interpreted. You can soften it with a spoon over the candle and then - as usual - pour it into cold water. Use for example homemade Blanks from old candle remnants.
Even though pewter is a more sustainable alternative to lead casting, it is also possible to achieve the same results by using the Cartography or Coffee set reading wonderfully oracle about their own future and preserve the usual tradition (somewhat adapted).
4. prefer alternative activities
What is New Year's Eve all about? It's about being together with friends and family, having fun, and getting into the new year in a good mood. That also goes without fireworks, noise, garbage and fine dust!
Just look for other activities that fulfill these desires as well. How about for example cooking together or a Wellness, game or movie night? Just do what you feel like. There are no limits to the imagination.
5. use natural, reusable utensils
On New Year's Eve, avoid single-use plastic and instead opt for waste-preventing reusable alternatives, for example when choosing cutlery, drinking cups, napkins and other utensils. For one thing, the mood is then quite cozy and on the other hand, the food also has a significant elegant.
Tip: How you can basically create a Zero Waste Party You can find out how to get started in the linked blog article.
6. indulge in wine and sparkling wine with natural corks and organic quality.
Of course, you can also toast to a healthy new year together if you celebrate New Year's Eve sustainably! Prefer vegan organic wine and organic sparkling wine for this and make sure that it is a real cork stopper instead of plastic. According to the WWF, by doing so you also specifically counteract the global species extinction counter.₆
7. use reusable straws
Of course, one can fundamentally argue about the sense of straws. Because actually, the use of drinking straws is just a (not necessary, human) habit. They do not have an actual benefit and there are many good reasons for doing without plastic straws in particular.
But if you want to sip cocktails through a straw and still celebrate New Year's Eve in the most sustainable way possible, you can rely on a Cornucopia of plastic-free alternatives fall back on. For example there are Bamboo straws (e.g. these*) or easily washable Glass straws. (e.g. these*)
8. buy only as much food as necessary
To make your personal Reduce food wasteFor a sustainable New Year's Eve party, you should only buy as much food as you really need. You yourself can best assess the drinking and eating behavior of your guests and accordingly, optimize your errands for a garbage-free, sustainable New Year.
9. decorate naturally and environmentally friendly
Fir branches, natural paper or raffia ribbon for example, are natural materials and are wonderful for your sustainable New Year's Eve decorations. Just as well you can use old Sandwich bags to bang or cut out confetti from foliage for a surprise effect or two. Again, let your imagination run wild - the main thing is that you avoid unnecessary waste.
10. stay relaxed and safe
You always feel totally stressed on New Year's Eve because you want to organize everything perfectly? Take the pressure off and focus on the really important things at the turn of the year: Friends, family and joy. Everything else is basically beside the point. That being said, no one is forcing you to celebrate the start of the new year at all. Some people just slide in asleep 🙂 .
Safety and health are, of course, other important factors! In order for everyone to get through the sustainable New Year celebration safe and sound, you should always follow the Recommendations of the local fire department hold and among other things...
- close all windows and doors.
- Place balcony plants in a safe place.
- use only tested fireworks with a registration number and the CE mark.
- leave lit but unexploded fireworks.
- Only allow rockets to be launched vertically upwards from suitable open areas.
Cities: Where can you celebrate New Year's Eve without fireworks?
If you not only want to avoid firecrackers and rockets yourself, but ideally don't want to hear any of it, you should celebrate where it is forbidden.
There is a total ban on fireworks or at least firecracker-free zones in the following German cities, for example:
- Düsseldorf (entire old town)
- Tübingen (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
- Quedlinburg (Saxony-Anhalt)
- Islands (Sylt, Hallig Oland, Amrum)
Of course, these are by no means all German cities where you can sustainably celebrate New Year's Eve without fireworks. But the length of the list underlines that many cities see very good reasons, to issue a ban on fireworks.
You know other cities where you can celebrate New Year's Eve relatively quietly? Then feel free to drop me a comment with your note!
Resolutions: What sustainable goals can you set for the new year?
The turn of the year provides a wonderful opportunity to break polluting habits and adapt new, sustainable routines and behaviors. Here are some ideas that can be implemented relatively quickly:
- Switch to a green electricity provider (compare here*, takes only 5 minutes)
- Stop eating meat (and the Veganuary master)
- Only buy things you really need (see Minimalism)
- Reduce your own plastic waste by half (see plastic free living)
- Watch a documentary about factory farming (see vegan documentaries)
At sustainable resolutions I will introduce you to many more goals for the new year. There you will also learn how to stay on track and successfully implement even larger plans. I can also recommend my Book Sustainable living for beginners*that will make your everyday life much easier in an environmentally friendly way.
Celebrate New Year's Eve and the New Year sustainably? No problem!
As you can see there are many good reasons and countless possibilities for celebrating a sustainable turn of the year without fireworks. In any case, avoid the noise that is frightening for children and animals, minimize air pollution in your environment and do not produce unnecessary and costly New Year's Eve waste. Keep people from being exploited and hurt. And find healthier, greener alternatives for your New Year's oracle.
You better be a role model! You can also slide into the new year in a sustainable way without much effort. Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions for a waste-free, sustainable New Year's Eve? Then I look forward to your comments!
Happy New Year and a happy, healthy, new year,
₁ S. Luig: Fireworks on New Year's Eve, available at https://www.vku.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/feuerwerk-zu-silvester-rund-200-tonnen-silvesterabfall-faellt-am-neujahrstag-allein-an-den-hotspots-der-fuenf-groessten-staedte-an. [28.12.2022].
₂ Stiftung Warentest: Bleigießen - Besser bleifrei ins New Year (as of 01.12.2021), available at https://www.test.de/Bleigiessen-Besser-bleifrei-ins-Neue-Jahr-4484000-0 [28.12.2022].
₃ M. Schwarzer: Ausgeböllert - Das Silvesterfeuerwerk gehört abschafft (as of: 23.10.2019), available at https://www.rnd.de/panorama/ausgebollert-das-silvesterfeuerwerk-gehort-abgeschafft-HYNZ5QPL4JD6LGC4FVAYVZDOD4.html. [28.12.2022].
₄ ntv Nachrichtenfernsehen GmbH: Explosion at fireworks factory kills eleven Chinese workers (02.11.2013), available at https://www.n-tv.de/panorama/Elf-chinesische-Arbeiter-sterben-article11654066.html. [28.12.2022].
₅ taz Verlags u. Vertriebs GmbH: Child labor and fatal accidents : sparklers from little hands (as of Dec. 31, 2011), available at https://taz.de/Kinderarbeit-und-toedliche-Unfaelle/!5104244. [Dec. 28, 2022].
₆ WWF Germany: How to celebrate New Year's Eve in harmony with the environment and nature (as of 19.12.2022), available at https://www.wwf.de/aktiv-werden/tipps-fuer-den-alltag/so-feiern-sie-silvester-im-einklang-mit-umwelt-und-natur. [28.12.2022].