Stop selling disposable barbecues this summer plea

Campaign group Litter Free Dorset is renewing its call to end the sale of disposable barbecues in Swanage and across Dorset, especially following the recent devastating wildfire at Canford Heath near Poole, which illustrated how quickly flames can spread across heathland.

Following several years of lobbying, supermarkets Waitrose and Aldi have removed disposable barbecues from their shelves. Now Litter Free Dorset says it would like to see more shops following in their footsteps.

Canford Heath fire

The scorched earth after the fire at Canford Heath that started on Saturday 23rd April 2022

“Choose not to use”

As well as appealing to businesses not to stock disposable barbecues, the community campaign group is also encouraging everyone to ‘choose not to use’ and is suggesting alternative options, such as reusable barbecues or having a picnic this summer.

Sophie Colley from Litter Free Dorset said:

“Until we can get the government to introduce legislation about the sale of disposable barbecues, they remain a safety risk to animals, children and adults. The only way we can reduce the risk at the moment is to persuade shops to stop selling them.

“It’s hard to understand when supermarket chains sign up to sustainable and environmental codes of conduct, that they then continue to sell a product that completely conflicts with those policies.

“We saw last weekend with the wildfire at Canford Heath just how much damage these fires can cause in Dorset.

“If we are serious about reducing carbon emissions then we need to do everything we can to prevent wildfires which release a huge amount of CO2 very quickly.

“Also the disposable barbecues themselves are single use, unable to be recycled and often use unsustainable charcoal that comes from South America and contribute to deforestation.”

Barbecue at Puddletown Forset fire
Dorset and Wiltshire FRS

Disposable barbecues have been the cause of many wildfires in Dorset over the years

Many local shops have stopped selling disposable barbecues

In Swanage, many local shops including Costcutters have stopped stocking disposable barbecues but Budgens and the Co-op continue to sell the items.

Explaining the reason why the Co-op, that also has stores in Wareham and Sandford, continues to stock them, a spokesperson said:

“We are continuing our disposable BBQ ‘Put Me Out’ campaign this year, launched in 2021 with the National Fire Chiefs Council, which directly instructs customers, through impactful on-pack images and messaging, on the need to extinguish the BBQs with water and dispose of them properly, along with clear in store signage and we also reinforce the rules that they should only be used in authorised areas.”

Co-op sign
cars parked in loading bay

As well as the Co-op, Budgens also continues to sell disposable barbecues in Swanage

Letter writing campaign

Litter Free Dorset’s 2022 BBQ campaign is asking people to write to shops if they would like them to stop selling disposable barbecues and have provided a template letter for anyone who wants to use it. The letter is supported by Dorset Council and the Urban Heaths Partnership.

In addition it’s also produced a poster for shops that don’t sell disposable barbecues to let others know their stance and to encourage other local businesses to follow suit.

Disposable barbecue causing grass to burn
Wareham Fire Station

Disposable barbecues can quickly burn grass

“The time is up for disposable barbecues”

Sophie Colley said:

“We all enjoy a barbecue on a sunny day but there are choices that can be made, like to use a reusable barbecue with eco-friendly charcoal or even to just have a picnic.

“I really feel that the time is up for disposable barbecues – they are going out of fashion!”

Crews tackle the fire at Canford Heath

Crews from both Swanage and Wareham Fire Stations were sent to tackle the fire at Canford Heath

Cause of Canford Heath fire

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service says that it’s still investigating the cause of the fire at Canford Heath and although it may never be able to identify the true cause, it believes the fire to have been, “caused deliberately with some human intervention”.

Further information

  • More about Litter Free Dorset’s 2022 BBQ campaign is on its website, along with the template letter and the shop poster

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