Green burial is a death care process that aims to minimize the environmental impact associated with funerals.
Green burials, eco-friendly burials, and natural burials continue to grow in popularity and will soon be the norm.
According to a recent survey by the National Funeral Directors Association, 54% of Americans consider eco-friendly burials. The same poll confirms that 72% of cemeteries report heightened demand for green burial options.
Advantages of Green Burials
Green Burials are environmentally friendly
Modern burial process have many negative repercussions for the environment.
The Green Burial Council estimates that traditional American burials put a lot of waste into the ground. Caskets or burial vaults are rather unnecessary. The burial industry 17,000 tons of bronze and copper, more than 64,000 tons of steel, and up to 1.6 million tons of concrete annually!
In addition, the funeral industry uses more than 20,000,000 feet of lumber for wooden caskets.
Embalming, a chemical process of preserving the body, is an unnecessary part of the burial process and uses more than 4,300,000 gallons of fluid containing harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, and other solvents.
There is life and death, but there is the future as well. So, although death is a transitional stage and a vital rite of passage, it is essential to observe it with the future in mind. And this explains the importance of environmental preservation and possible restoration through eco-friendly funerals.
Green Burials have lower costs
Green burials are not only more environmentally friendly, they are also cheaper.
Traditional American funeral comes with high costs. N.F.D.A puts the average cost of a classic funeral at $8,500, with some luxurious options going beyond the 20,000-dollar mark.
Family members are also expected to purchase flowers, expensive casket, pay for embalming, and add-ons like prayer cards and funeral programs.
When you opt for a natural funeral option, you can substitute most of these purchases with cost-friendlier options or forego them entirely.
Families can skip embalming, forgo concrete vaults, utilize more affordable burial containers, and go with a digital remembrance offering like a tribute video or online obituary.
For example, some people commit most or all the amounts saved to land restoration, protection, and environmental management. These choices help protect the environment by limiting waste, reducing the carbon footprint, and nourishing the natural ecosystem.
Green Burials have spiritual significance
If you have a strong connection with nature and would prefer to have your remains or a loved one’s remains to get back to earth in a natural way, a green funeral is a viable option.
Of course, natural burials use organic and biodegradable products and will quickly decompose and be part of Mother Nature.
Green Funeral Options
There is no standardized way of holding a green funerals. As a result, the extent of how “natural” a service can be will vary from person to person.
The options can be pretty confusing. First, you will have to choose your funeral ceremony preferences beforehand. This includes a decision on body viewings.
The following are the decisions to consider for a green funeral.
Embalming or No Embalming
For the record, embalming is not necessary for green funerals.
While modern-day funeral homes use a mixture of chemicals to preserve and nourish human remains for public display, the process is more cosmetic than it is a health procedure.
Many funeral directors will instruct o take embalming seriously so your loved one will look good. This advice can be ignored.
If you are skeptical about embalming but still considering a green burial, it’s possible to opt for non-toxic or organic embalming fluids.
Both burials and cremations are compatible with an eco-friendly funeral
Both cremation and burial will still cost lower and have fewer environmental implications when carried out naturally.
Cremation is generally considered more environmentally friendly than burials, even under ordinary circumstances
While carbon emanates from cremation, it remains a more viable and lesser environmentally destructive option despite the considerable carbon output. Many funeral homes have mechanisms to minimize the hazardous effects of cremation.
After the cremation, scattering remains is quite hazardous. So eco-friendly survivors should avoid scattering and instead can opt for a product that safely turns the cremated ashes into valuable soil on which you can plant a flower or a tree.
Another solution is a product that holds the ashes in an underwater ball to create new marine life for underwater reefs.
Sending ashes into space, is one of the least-environmentally friendly ways of disposing due to the fuel costs to get out of the atmosphere and the amount of ‘space junk’ it creates.
Green burials focus on simplicity and environmental conservation
If you choose burial over cremation, the options are always equally diverse.
You will need to decide on how the entire service will run, including where to conduct the ceremony, how to do it, and whether you will use the services of a funeral director or not.
Green Burial Caskets
Choosing a process without a coffin is most eco-friendly.
In these situations, the deceased is wrapped in a cotton shroud and prepared for direct burial. Cotton shroud is relatively affordable and incredibly biodegradable.
Suppliers also offer biodegradable containers made from willow, bamboo, paper, seagrass, or cardboard. These containers are equally relatively priced.
When opting for a green casket, there is a range of eco-friendly options. Many green cemeteries permit caskets made from cardboard, plain wood, or wicker.
Choosing a natural burial site
The environmental safety of natural burials ensures the promotion of soil restoration sites.
Most natural burial sites are reusable after some time.
Many natural burial cemeteries do not allow upright monuments but instead use flush markers to identify graves. Some natural cemeteries do not use tags at all, and those with markers use natural stones or plaques.
Natural Burial Grounds
These burial sites are common in a variety of states here in the U.S. They aim to preserve natural landscapes for native wildlife and vegetation. In addition, such sites prohibit the use of non-biodegradable merchandise and fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and other chemicals that may harm natural habitats.
Hybrid cemeteries are conventional cemeteries that conduct eco-friendly burials. Some hybrid cemeteries have designated sections for natural burials. Of course, these sites have certifications that exempt them from using vaults.
Conservation burial sites are pretty advanced and commit burial fees for land acquisition, restoration, protection, and management. Most of these grounds have expansive tracts of land and may also contain a park, wildlife refuge, or nature conservancy.
How We Can Help You at FuneralFide.com
While there is a growing interest in eco-friendly burials, many people do not have sufficient information. We strive to bridge this gap by providing detailed, factual, and well-researched information on the same. We link you with reputable green funeral providers and find eco-friendly burial merchandise and services.
About the Author: Kennedy Brian
With six years working in a funeral home, Kennedy Brian understands specific industry needs. Kennedy started as a Funeral Home Clerk and has risen through the ranks to be a Funeral Director. While he understands that funeral homes and staff are in business, he acknowledges that clients and prospective customers deserve accurate and honest information. Kennedy values fair pricing, high-quality and dignified afterlife service. He is a blogger and freelance writer, passionate about sharing his expertise and ideas.