In early November, Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, a day to remember the loved ones who have left us forever. In those days, cemeteries all over Croatia are full with people who brought flowers and candles in memory of ones who passed away. Everyone wants to commemorate that day in a dignified way, but the accumulation of unnecessary waste in cemeteries is becoming a problem we face year after year. During All Saints’ Day, over 15,000 tons of plastic are collected every year, some of it is recycled, some is stored in landfills and in small villages, some of it is incinerated. (sources are at the bottom).
Plastic waste is harmful to the environment because improperly disposed plastic cannot be decomposed or recycled. Sunce Association with several projects and the national campaign “Together without plastic” wants to be part of the change to reduce disposable plastic pollution in cities and municipalities, and also offer advice on how to change some life habits.
We can commemorate our loved ones without unnecessary accumulation of plastic waste, so we bring you some tips on how to celebrate All Saints’ Day without plastic and with dignity.
1. Replace plastic lanterns with glass ones
Plastic lanterns can very easily be replaced by an environmentally friendly variant of glass lanterns that you can make yourself. Use one of the old jars and put a wax candle in it. Cover the top of the jar with aluminum foil on which you have previously drilled airflow holes, or recycle the aluminum lid that you can use from discarded lanterns in the cemetery. You can find ideas for decorating a glass lantern at the link: https://bit.ly/3EaWn1G
2. Natural flowers instead of plastic
There is always an alternative to plastic. For example, you can replace plastic flowers with natural flowers pots. They will decorate the grave of your loved ones for a long time, and you will not create additional plastic waste. Except for natural flowers pots, you can bring natural flowers in a glass or stone vase which, if you attach it to the grave, will always be there and ready for new fresh flowers.
3. Plant flowers
If you have the space and time for that, planting flowers is always the best option. Besides this being the most environmentally friendly method, planted flowers will decorate the grave of your loved ones throughout the years. Planted flowers require regular watering, for which you can use a watering located in the cemetery or always have your own bucket ready in the car. If, in the absence of an alternative, you water the flowers with a plastic bottle, after use, throw it in the provided container. The waste sorting containers at the cemetery are there for a reason.
4. Replace plastic grave wreaths with natural, handmade wreaths
You can honor your loved ones with a personal creative flower arrangement that you will make instead of buying a ready-made plastic wreath. Gather your family and make a wreath for the grave from natural flowers. This is an ideal opportunity to remember the loved ones who are no longer with us. Through these creative activities, you rise your family togetherness and protect the environment by reducing plastic waste.
5. Lighting wax candles during a grave visit
You can also show respect for dead ones with a simple intimate ritual of lighting wax candles when you arrive at the grave, extinguishing them when you leave. Sometimes the flame of a candle has a stronger emotional and intimate value than all the plastic decorations on the grave together.
Remember, the planet we have is inherited by those yet to come. So if you go to visit those who are no more with us, just remember the future generation and what kind of planet you want to leave for them!