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Reusing abandoned tombstones is the idea of an entrepreneur from Seine-Maritime. He recycles granite from abandoned tombs to erect new graves. An alternative ecological and economical for the families of the deceased. #TheyHaveTheSolution
If recycling is developing in many sectors of activity, there is one that had been forgotten: the funeral industry. Yohann Langlois, un young entrepreneur from Normandy has launched into the marketing of second-hand tombstones. The company obtains supplies directly from cemeteries and there is no shortage of abandoned concessions, nearly 15,000 in Le Havre alone. The stones end up being destroyed, for lack of owners. “I sign agreements with different town halls and I recover the stones at the end of the concession rather than ending up in the trash“, Explain Yohann Langlois.
Once the imposing granite slabs have been recovered, they undergo a complete facelift. The tombstones are cleaned and the inscriptions removed thanks to a powerful machine. This delicate operation is the result of experiments by the entrepreneur: “I managed to find the right level to have the polish closest to new”, explains the entrepreneur. Thanks to this process, the stone is again exploitable, it can be engraved to adorn a new concession. “The only difference is that the original stone will be missing 3 to 4 millimeters.“, precise Yohann Langlois.
The concept has met with great success: “it’s much cheaper, we got it for 1,500 euros, at the funeral home, it was double”, explains a client. With a French market under tension, the price of granite has soared and is affecting funeral businesses. Used tombstones represent an opportunity that is both economical and ecological, the reuse of stones avoids the extraction of new materials from nature. The company recycles an average of 400 stones per year, but orders are pouring in and many customers are on the waiting list. To meet demand, the company plans to hire new employees and move to larger premises.
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