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Eco-friendly multipurpose candle alternatives for cemeteries

Image credit: https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/lifestyle/2387-cemetery-candles-an-environmental-nightmare-in-slovenia

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Juranium Nov 03, 2021
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Originality

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Feasibility

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Necessity

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Conciseness

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Introduction
A few days ago it was a Christian solemnity celebrated in honor of all the saints of the church. Traditionally, millions of people go to the cemeteries and light up a candle or a two for their loved ones who passed away. Although it's a nice gesture, it's definitely not environmentally friendly.
Problems
  • The burning of candles causes an increase in benzene (200 %), toluene (366 %), and styrene , similar to the transportation emissions.
  • Huge amounts of plastic candles have to be recycled or managed in another way, which often results in piling up and becoming an environmental problem .
  • Recycling and plastic waste management require a big workforce and result in additionalCO2 emissions from the factories.
Solutions
To combat this problem, many found an alternative way:
  • electric, but still plastic candles - not actually a solution, but mentioned because slightly reduces the amount of waste
  • solar, but still plastic candles - same like the above mentioned, but lasts longer
  • no candles
  • wax candles without the shell
None of the above-mentioned solutions does the job like a traditional candle. Electric candles often blink and do not burn in a warm calming light like the traditional ones. The heat from burning of the traditional candles warms you during cold nights, comforting you when you mourn and remember your loved ones. No electric candle can do that. The wax-only candles can do that, but leave a nasty stain on expensive graves. Also, they are very easy to extinguish by a light breeze or rain.

The best thing would be to have no candles at all, but that's not what most of the people will accept as a solution. We need either a total ban or a safer and more ecological alternative.
What do you propose?
What could the candle be made of, look like, serve after it "burnes"?

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3824304/

[2]https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/lifestyle/2387-cemetery-candles-an-environmental-nightmare-in-slovenia

[3]https://www.amazon.com/PChero-Waterproof-Rechargeable-Flameless-Emergency/dp/B088YRJSLX

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Creative contributions

Drawing or carving on small stones

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 21, 2021
Saw this in the news today:
It's a pretty cool and durable idea.
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Juranium15 days ago
Cool and simple! It would be nice if it had the ability to glow in order to mimic the candle.
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Tesla coils and plasma balls

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 03, 2021
I think people have traditionally associated fire with "mistic energy" which goes well with the concept of the afterlife. In the past, fire was the only human controllable thing that was beyond our understanding.
What other things are potentially in the same category as fire via candles?
Plasma balls:

Tesla coils:

These could be made small and stylish, the same form factor as standard grave candles.
To make this feasible, every grave should come with an outdoor electrical outlet that is powered via a central vending machine. You pay per hour, day, week to have your deceased relative's tesla coil or plasma ball do it's magic.
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Juraniuma month ago
That could be cool. You would pay for the light on-site, without needing to go to the market to buy candles. Instead, collected money could be used to maintain the graves and the electrical grid on the graveyard.
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Metal, glass or ceramic refillable "containers"

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Juranium Nov 03, 2021
Same like you refill your soap in the bathroom, you could refill candles. I propose the usage of glass, metal, or ceramic structures that can be refilled by premade or homemade solid or liquid wax or other liquid that serves the purpose. This doesn't reduce the amount of CO2 emissions but tackles the problem of plastic.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
The containers might not be refillable, simply hard wax/paraffin candles can be placed inside them instead of using those together with single-use glass or plastic covers. Usually, all the glass/plastic covers for candles look more or less the same and are very boring. Some companies do produce such multi-use "cases" for candles. They can look very nice compared to the usual ones from the supermarkets.
They can just stand on the grave all year round and candles be placed inside during fests. The only problem is that they might get stolen. We are using two such cases on the grave of my grandparents, they are ceramic, nobody stole them so far (they stand there for a year or so already). But just in case they could be stuck with the strong glue or some other fixing materials to the horizontal marble/stone surfaces on the grave.
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Juraniuma month ago
Povilas S Yes, I like this. They look good and serve their purpose. What I see is that they are on the market for years and did not become popular. The problem could be a high price, boring looks or the permanency of the solution.
Therefore, we need to think of how to make them cheaper, cooler-looking and how to deal with the problem of large quantities of candles on the graves during festivities. Nobody is going to buy 10 euro candle "shells" if they are going to visit more than 2 graves at the All Saints day. It would be very expensive compared to the plastic candles, which you can buy for 50 cents each.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Juran What I tried to point out about the appearance of multi-use candle cases is exactly the opposite. Look at this. They look really nice on the grave. Of course, you have to search for nice ones to buy somewhere, not all of them are, but it's worth putting in some effort. I think a company that makes cool multi-use candle cases and sells them locally or/and online would likely be a successful business. This is one of those untapped niche opportunities. 10 euros is not expensive if you take into account that you'll be using them for years and that they look way cooler than the boring glass/plastic ones from the supermarket.
Why not buy one or two of them for each grave that you visit? Let's say you spend 100 euros or so one year, but then no more glass and plastic waste the following years and you'd only have to bring some simple candles to put in that would likely burn totally without leaving a trace. The multi-use cases can potentially stand on the grave for years.
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Solar-powered candles that last a lifetime

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Juranium Nov 03, 2021
To combat the above-mentioned environmental problems caused by traditional candles, I would create wirelessly charged electric candles that constantly recharge and brighten up the night. They would have a sensor to turn on only during the night to save the battery.
Alternatively, the whole grave could be turned into a solar panel and charge these candles wirelessly.
Problems:
  • again plastic
  • lithium for the batteries
  • expensive enough for people to avoid buying it
  • somebody can steal it, since cemeteries are often not secured
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Wax-fertilized flower pot candle

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Juranium Nov 03, 2021
Glass jar half-filled with soil and seeds and the rest is the wax. When the wax burns, it heats and fertilizes the soil. Once the wax is gone, the soil gets exposed to the sun and rain, supporting the growth of the desired plant. After some time, you have a nice flower where once was a candle.
Problems
How to water the soil without exposing the candle to the rain?
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
This seems like a good idea. In order not to expose the burning candle to the rain and wind, a cover (cap) can be used while the candle is burning, during the Halloween period, and later simply removed by people visiting to clean the graves after the fests. However, I'm not sure if burning wax would fertilize the soil, where did you get that idea from? Also, there are usually little graves with potted flowers on them (at least in Lithuania), this is simply not popular and also perhaps impractical, the flowers are usually planted in the soil of the grave itself.
I thought what if the "shell" of the pot itself would be made of wax? The wick could be twisted like a hollow coil inside it and burn slowly around evaporating the wax completely. Such pots could be dug in the ground. The surrounding soil would protect the burning wax from being blown out by the wind (not sure what to do with the rain though). Essentially it would be a circular candle burning in the hole on the grave. The very bottom of the wax pot could be made from paper or something biodegradable or removable before putting the structure in the ground.
A pot can contain an already sprout plant instead of just seeds in the soil. A candle burning around the plant would look very nice, just that burning inside the hole might not work out due to lack of oxygen, maybe making a hole bigger and leaving enough room for the wax to burn would do. But the general concept of wax pot that dissolves by burning it like a candle and leaving a plant to settle and grow in the soil seems very attractive.
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Juraniuma month ago
Povilas S I agree with the cap. It was my idea, too, although a bit impractical. Hahaha I think the wax cannot fertilize the soil as it is now, but it could be modified to contain some fertilizer. Here, the scientists discovered that coating the fertilizer granules with paraffin resulted in ultimate amounts dissolved lower than those of uncoated samples. It could help the controlled release of nutrients and give the plants nutrients long-term.
The idea with the wax shell is cool, but yes, the rain problem persists. Also, if the soil is very dry and can grow grass, this could present a fire threat.
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