Biodegradable floating lanterns

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Written By Marc Helman

Tackling new challenges with a passion for the environment.

The term “sky lantern” refers to a type of Chinese lantern that uses helium gas as the fuel. The first recorded use of this technology was in China during the Tang Dynasty. It has been used for centuries, and today they are still being made in many parts of Asia. They have also become popular with people all over the world because of their unique shape and design.

How do sky lanterns work?

Sky lanterns can be divided into three categories based on how they operate: electric-powered, solar-powered, and wind-power.

Electric-powered lanterns require an external source of energy such as batteries or AC current from a wall outlet.

Solar-powered lanterns rely solely on sunlight to generate heat which is then converted into light using a chemical reaction.

Wind-powered lanterns harness the force of nature through the movement of air currents. These lanterns typically consist of a fan mounted at one end of a long tube. As the fan spins it creates a vortex inside the tube causing the surrounding air to move faster than normal. This causes pressure differences between the outside and inside of the tube, creating lift.

When the air reaches its maximum speed, it exits out of the bottom of the tube and becomes lighter due to lower density. Once the air leaves the tube, it travels upwards until it encounters resistance from the atmosphere.

Are sky lanterns eco-friendly?

Sky lanterns, unfortunately, are not environmentally friendly. Bamboo-based “biodegradable” lanterns take decades to decompose and can hurt or entrap animals in the meanwhile. They have the potential to spark severe fires. More than 30 animals died in Germany following a fire started by floating lanterns in a small zoo.

In addition, they are combustible and can start flames because they are constructed of flimsy paper and used with an open flame. Sky lanterns may not be worth using these days, given the caution surrounding brush fires and fragile ecosystems around the world.

Environmentally friendly and safe alternatives for your memorial ceremony:

1. Vigil by Candlelight

There are several compelling reasons to organize a candlelight vigil. Holding a vigil is a powerful and quiet visual for individuals in grief or who want to remember someone who died in a tragic accident. It’s a dramatic sight to see people gathered in a circle, holding flashlights into the night.

Bring reusable fake candles, like these flameless battery-powered candles, or have guests bring their phones and put on their camera flashes to light up the night if you want to be green. Vigils are usually held after dusk, and speakers can be requested if your vigil is large enough. They can recite tribute poetry, give a eulogy, or do whatever else you want.

Candlelight vigils are frequently held in honor of someone, as well as in response to a tragedy or a big issue. This gathers people together in order to commemorate someone or something significant. You can hold a vigil in their honor if your loved one was a strong supporter of a specific cause.

2. Set up a bonfire

Traditions are intended to bring people together and bring them closer together. Bonfires are an excellent way to bring a community together. If you lived in a small town, it’s possible that your loved one was adored by all. If this is the case, fitting everyone into a church or comparable structure will be difficult.

If done appropriately, with the proper licenses and safety procedures in place, a bonfire can be a terrific option. It’s also a social gathering that allows individuals to mix and converse. If you like, you can even bake marshmallows or hot dogs. Remember to bring a set of hotdog or marshmallow roasting sticks as well.

3. Use Floating Candles as a third option.

Seeing candles float away into the sea usually elicits great feelings of remembering and honor. On Amazon, you can generally get cheap floating candles in value sets.

It’s a time-honored tradition to light a candle in someone’s remembrance, and this pays homage to those roots. You can start your floating candle ceremony by praying, reciting a poem, or remembering your loved one while lighting and setting out your candle.

There are a few things to think about if you want to ensure that your ceremony is ecologically friendly. Examine the area surrounding the pond or lake with a critical eye. Is there a lot of undergrowth or dry brush? Are there any trees overhanging the pond? If that’s the case, you might want to avoid using floating candles. It’s also not a good idea to do this in a river.

The candle will float away, and no one knows where it will end up next. It’s also crucial to tie a string around your floating candle. When you’re ready, you can bring it back in. This prevents candle wax from polluting the waterway.

4. Kite-flying

The sight of a kite flying in the sky is breathtaking. If you reside in a windy area, this is a great activity to do in the early spring. This is a fantastic substitute for balloons. Bright spots of color can still be seen disappearing into the sky. You can reel them back in when you’re through! There will be no harm to the environment or the species who live in it in this manner.

The activity of making a kite might be the focal point of your memorial event. Colorful kite-making kits, such as this 6-pack for youngsters, are available. Everyone will have a good time gathering simple craft materials and instructions from the Internet. After making the kites, everyone can go out and fly them together.

5. Set a Dove Free

The act of releasing a dove carries a lot of religious and historic connotations. It can be comforting to watch a lovely white bird fly into the sky. It can feel as if you’re releasing your sadness and loss directly to your loved one in paradise. You can still appreciate this custom even if you don’t believe in the religious symbolism surrounding doves and paradise.

However, you should consider collaborating with a dove training company because you should never release a dove into the wild without a strategy. They won’t live on their own after years of domestication, but that’s one of the reasons these groups exist!

Nowadays, white homing pigeons, which resemble doves, are frequently used to substitute doves. Homing pigeons have incredible instincts as well. They will always return to their home, to their birthplace. After you release your “dove” into the sky, it will soar up and away before returning to you. This increases the likelihood of its survival and a bright future.

6. Go for a Memoir Walk

Memory walks are available in a variety of formats and for a variety of causes. If you don’t have a charity to support on behalf of your loved one, you can organize your own remembrance walk. In commemoration of your loved one, you can organize a relay, go on a hike, or climb a mountain.

If you’re not extremely athletic, a simple walk will suffice. Bring along friends or family and trek at their favorite location. Embrace the adventure, whether it was walking along the Hudson River or hiking the Appalachian Trail.

You have complete freedom to walk as much or as little as you like. If your physical ability prevents you from going to their favorite spot, simply going to their favorite spot will suffice. You can even make it into a camping trip with your friends and family if you enjoy the great outdoors.

7. Lights in a Jar

Making jam jar lights instead of sky lanterns is a brilliant idea. They still give beautiful lighting while being reusable, such as this Amazon 6-pack of gorgeous jam jar lights. When you’re through, put them away and pull them out again at a later time.

However, be mindful of how you choose to make your jam jars. Tea lights can be used, however if there will be pets or small children around, something else should be considered. In these jars, you can put twinkle lights or battery-powered bulbs. One can be made by anyone and used as a sky light. You can hang them up as decorations in your home or building once they’re finished.

8. Clouds that make you smile

Have you ever seen a plane send a message across the sky? It’s entertaining to watch. Planes, on the other hand, aren’t known for being environmentally friendly.

You may also lack the financial means to hire a plane. You can find a greener answer if you enjoy watching words and messages appear in the sky. Some companies combine helium, water, and a non-toxic soap solution. Massive clouds of soap foam in the shape of balloons can float up into the sky for your viewing enjoyment!

Changing to a Green Lifestyle

Alternative memorial service ideas aren’t always easy to come up with. It’s worth it, though, if you’re committed to making the world a better place to live. We can now achieve things that would never have been conceivable in the past that are environmentally friendly.

Putting thought into the details is the most crucial component of any service, regardless of how you arrange it. Embrace your plans for a special service, whether you want to write something in the clouds or plant a tree in memory.

How to make biodegradable floating water lanterns

The floating water lantern is a great way to add some fun and whimsy into your garden or patio this summer! They are easy to make and can be used in any type of container you have on hand. You will need the following supplies for making these biodegradable floating water lanterns:

  • 1/2 cup white glue
  • 3 cups hot tap water
  • Small plastic containers
  • A few drops of food coloring
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun


Step 1
Pour 3 cups of hot tap water into each container. Let cool completely before using.

Step 2
Mix together equal parts of white glue with warm water until it forms a thick paste. Add just enough colorant so that the mixture turns pinkish red. If you want more intense colors, use less paint; if you want lighter colors, use more paint. The amount of paint needed depends upon how dark you like your finished product. I usually mix about one part paint to two parts glue.

Step 3
Cut out circles from paper plates using scissors. Place them inside the containers and fill up halfway with the colored glue mixture. Use a toothpick to spread the glue around evenly. Allow to dry overnight.

 Step 4
Once they’re dry, cut off the top of the containers and remove the paper plate lids. Fill the containers all the way full with water. This step makes sure there’s no air trapped between the layers of the lantern.

Step 5
Glue the tops back onto the containers. Leave at least an inch gap between the top edge of the lantern and the rim of the container. It should look something like this when done.