The Parish Council have approved the banning of all plastic from our cemeteries in Albaston and Calstock. Windblown plastic debris is an increasing problem. Recently, in one month alone, council workmen filled a builder’s dumpy bag with plastic litter lying around which was not associated with any specific grave.
The ban will include plastic ornaments, wreaths and artificial flowers. Natural alternative materials will continue to be welcomed.
In 2019 the Parish Council declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to reduce single use plastic in the Parish.
Cllr Mike Greenwood, Chairman of the Burial Board, said: “We recognise it is important for people to be able to remember their loved ones by leaving flowers and other mementoes at the graveside, and long may that continue. All we are asking is that people refrain from using plastic items because it is quite staggering how much material ends up blown around our cemeteries and surrounding areas. This includes brittle plastic from pots, ornaments, artificial flowers, and cellophane wrappers. Although large pieces can be retrieved, others are very small and escape into the environment, to the detriment of wildlife and watercourses. They can also pose a hazard to our staff as they work to maintain our graveyards to such a high standard.”
Cllr Dorothy Kirk, Cornwall Councillor for Gunnislake and Calstock, supports the move: “When I’m asked what we can actually do to help the planet, I say we cannot do nothing. I don’t want to tell my granddaughters that I simply didn’t bother. The effects of plastic getting into wildlife habitats and water courses are devastating. We can all do something, and this initiative is one such step.”
Notices will be put up around the sites informing people of the new ‘No plastics’ rules and reminders put on local websites and social media groups after which any remaining plastic items will be removed.
Cllr Greenwood added, “Obviously we do not wish to cause anyone upset or distress. We continue to welcome natural materials such as earthenware, wood, fresh flowers and plants.”
Wreaths will continue to be laid for the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial in Albaston and removed at the end of January.
These regulations bring our cemeteries into line with similar regulations issued by the Diocese of Truro in May 2019. These are designed to preserve suitable and harmonious surroundings, and to maintain the dignity of local burial grounds