Many of us are concerned about our impact on the environment. We may find ourselves buying only green products, walking more, growing our own produce, composting and/or recycling more. It can seem hard in today’s world trying to cut out all the unnecessary and trying to shrink our impact on the environment. There are so many things that we do not even realize we use that can have a negative impact on the earth, and it just so happens that a traditional funeral is one of those things. However, you should not worry because now you have the option to go green for your funeral. Here are a few facts you may want to know when deciding if you should opt for a green for your funeral.
What is a green funeral?
A green funeral or green burial, also known as a natural funeral/burial, is an environmentally friendly option to today’s traditional funeral. A green funeral is achieved by using eco-friendly techniques to have as little an impact as possible on the earth and its environment.
How do you achieve a green funeral?
Remember you want a green funeral to have the lowest possible impact on the environment. The main areas to consider in a green funeral are:
- conserving natural resources
- protecting and preserving the environment
- safeguarding the health of those that work in the funeral industry
Why should you opt for a green funeral?
Not only are you preserving the earth’s environment, lowering your “carbon footprint” and protecting those that work in the funeral industry, you will also be a part of a movement that believes they are returning to the traditional ways of burial. Most people view green burials as the original and more traditional way of burying people before the industrialization and commercialization of the funeral industry. Also, many of the religious requirements of certain religious groups, such as the Jewish and Muslim beliefs, are easier to meet using a green funeral.
How does a green funeral conserve natural resources?
A conventional casket from a funeral may be made from wood or steel that is from a factory that mass produces these items. They are looking to make as many caskets as possible to increase profits. They are also looking for the fastest and easiest way to make these caskets. Many of the techniques these companies use to mass produce these caskets are not sustainable, are unsafe for the environment and can cause a lot of harm to the earth. A green casket, on the other hand, is made from more sustainable and eco-friendly techniques.
How does a green funeral preserve the environment?
Green caskets are biodegradable, and they do not add any toxins or have any adverse effects on the environment as they decompose. On the other hand, traditional caskets can leak toxins through the types of paint, veneer and any other chemical treatments they may have used in their manufacturing. They also take much longer to break down than a green casket. And, as stated above, the green caskets are produced in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way. In order to protect the environment, a green cemetery will only allow a person to be buried in a green casket or burial shroud. They also require that the body skip the embalming process. When you embalm a body you use harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which will seep into the earth.
How does a green funeral safeguard the health of funeral industry workers?
By preventing the body from being embalmed, a green funeral not only protects the environment but it also safeguards the health of anyone working with the body. Most embalming fluid contains formaldehyde, which is a cancer causing agent. There are many health risks involved with the regular exposure to this chemical. However, there are new techniques for embalming that skip formaldehyde and use essential oils that have been approved for use in the green burial industry. Also, many green caskets are made by companies that are certified fair-trade, which ensures that these workers are employed in a safe environment and making a fair wage.
How to have a green funeral?
There are many eco-friendly options to consider when having a green funeral and multiple ways to achieve these options. Here are a few considerations to help you on your way:
- Work with a certified and licensed green funeral home
- Opt for a natural burial ground or green cemetery for burial
- Don’t use an outer burial container, such as a grave liner or burial vault, when burying the body
- Use a shroud or a green casket for burial
- Use a green headstone or marker to mark the gravesite
There are many ways to achieve a green funeral. The easiest way is to work with a green funeral home that can answer any questions you may have on the spot, and they will also have easy access to all the eco-friendly resources you will need to have a green funeral. However, if there are no green funeral homes in your area or you decide to work with a conventional funeral home for other reasons, there is no need to stress. You may find yourself searching for those necessary eco-friendly resources on your own, but with the help of the internet, it is not as daunting as you may think.