An innovative new scheme to recycle large floral tributes following cremation is in its infancy at Wigan Crematorium.

Wigan Council’s bereavement services have partnered with a local business ‘V K Precious Memorials’ to find an alternative solution to landfill for the large floral tributes. V K Precious Memorials remove the floral tributes from Wigan Crematorium following their display for a week on the floral path, the week’s display enables family reflection and remembrance and the ability to remove any floral tributes that the family do not with to be recycled or disposed. Once removed the floral elements of the displays are stripped to leave the plastic frame work and the oasis. Silk flowers are then used to create new silk floral displays without the cost of the framework. Not only does the scheme provide a valuable commodity but promotes the culture change away from single use fresh flowers for cremation floral tributes to a more affordable and sustainable means.

Last year Wigan Council spent £2,000 on skip charges to dispose of large floral tributes from the crematorium following cremations. The scheme supports Wigan Councils approach through the ‘Deal’ which is an informal agreement between the council and everyone who lives or works in Wigan to work together to create a better borough.

So, what is the Wigan ‘Deal’ – the Council have committed to a series of pledges and in return ask residents and businesses to play their part too. So far through working together the Council, residents and businesses have saved £115m, but there’s still a long way to go.

Wigan Council now have the second lowest Council Tax rates in the whole of Greater Manchester and believe we can continue to balance our books with the help by doing things like recycling more, volunteering in our communities and using online services.

The recycling scheme at the Wigan Crematorium means that floral letters and numbers within frames from family tributes can be reused making it much more affordable for families to purchase. Not only does the scheme ensure that families with financial worries benefit but it supports the ‘Deal’ concept of seeking innovation and partnership working. From May 2019, signs were placed at the Crematorium to advise families that their frames would be reused if not collected in the week after a service, funeral directors were also charged with informing individual families about the changes. The cemetery that the crematorium is within, removed all small litter bins several years ago and we asked residents and visitors to the cemetery to recycle in line with residential recycling scheme, green (green waste), brown (recyclable materials) and black (no recyclable materials) bins were located at one site within the cemetery and emptied as part of the residential recycling process. This reduced the annual costs of litter removal but utilising existing resources within the Council.

Kath Fleming from V K Precious Memorials was the person who first approached Andy Bond – Bereavement Service Manager. After noticing the vast amount of materials that went to waste, Kath came up with the novel idea to reduce waste and help those who may struggle financially at such a stressful time. Kath said: “We want to make the process as easy and stress free as possible for people who are going through an incredibly stressful experience of losing a friend or family member”.

“The items we collect are often left at the crematorium however by reusing the items we are now turning them into something positive for those who might not be able to afford them at high street prices.”

Discussions between Kath and Andy were supported by officers from the Council’s Invest in Wigan Team with VK Precious Memorials being one of over 400 local businesses who have signed up to the Councils Deal for Business.

“We are very proud to have signed up to The Deal for Business and this project gives us the ideal platform to allow us to give back to our local communities.”

Andrew Bond, Bereavement Services Manager at Wigan Council, said: “We understand losing a loved one is a difficult time for everyone concerned but we hope this new initiative goes someway to help families pay their last respects and to create lasting memories. The scheme is supported by senior leaders in the Council

Rebecca Heron, Wigan Council’s director for economy and skills, said: “It’s great to see that an idea a resident had was brought to life with the aid of council officers from our Invest in Wigan team.”

“This is a prime example of how anyone in the borough can use the support available to get their businesses off the ground or develop it further.”


Facultatieve Technologies

Facultatieve Technologies (FT) with 145 years of experience in cremation is the international market leader in the design, construction and maintenance of cremation and filtration equipment.