Bonn · The home improvement store chain Hornbach has announced a sales freeze for New Year's Eve firecrackers. It will take effect starting next year. Will Bonn's retailers like Knauber follow suit?
For many people, New Year's Eve firecrackers are a part of ringing in the New Year. But they are an enormous burden on the environment, which environmentalists in particular stress time and again. On the first day of the new year, the concentration of fine dust in many places is higher than at any other time of the year: According to the German Federal Environment Agency, around 4,500 tons of fine particulate matter are released on New Year's Eve. This amount is equivalent to about 15.5 percent of the amount of fine dust emitted by road traffic each year. On New Year’s Eve alone, Germans light up between 100 and 150 million euros worth of firecrackers.
That could be over soon: The Hornbach home improvement chain has announced that it will no longer be selling fireworks from the end of 2020. "This year, we will still be selling in Germany and Austria, but then it will be stopped everywhere," said a company spokesperson on Monday in response to an enquiry from Rheinische Post. This affects 96 stores in Germany and 14 stores in Austria. In the other European markets, rockets and firecrackers have already been removed from the assortment. But here, sales of firecrackers will not be stopped this year due to long-term contracts with suppliers.
Bonn chains have not yet decided
Fireworks bans are no longer uncommon: More and more retailers throughout Germany are abandoning the sale of fireworks for environmental and animal welfare reasons. This includes individual branch stores of Edeka and Rewe. They are independent retailers which are not subject to group management.
Most home improvement stores and discounters in Bonn are still offering New Year's Eve firecrackers this year. The Edeka markets Mohr, Vogl and Bachem, in response to an enquiry, said that they planned to sell New Year's Eve fireworks this year. One of Edeka Bachem's employees said that they had discussed a sales freeze in other markets, but no concrete plans have been made for the coming year.
The Bonn branches of Knauber and Bauhaus will also be offering New Year's Eve fireworks this year. Andreas Krämer, press spokesman for the Rewe Group, explained that the stores of the Rewe, Penny and Toom Group will offer New Year's Eve products. However, the Rewe individual retailers are free to decide whether they want to sell fireworks in their supermarkets or not.
Environmental Action Germany calls for fireworks ban in NRW
Especially environmentalists had tried in the past months to ban firecrackers at least from the city centers. Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe) demanded a nationwide ban on fireworks. Most cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, however, reject a general ban on firecrackers and rockets on New Year's Eve.
Orig. text: Vanessa Rheinschmidt