In this post we look to explain sustainable alternatives to traditional funeral practices. With pressure in our daily life to become aware of our environmental impact, many people look to find a more eco friendly option to say farewell. Eco friendly funerals offer a way to say goodbye to our loved ones whilst also being aware and minimizing our carbon footprint as much as possible.
What is an eco-friendly funeral?
Many factors can affect the carbon footprint of a funeral, but arguably the biggest is the deceased chosen method of disposal. Approximately 70% of deceased are cremated instead of buried. A traditional cremation requires a large amount of energy and emits sizeable amounts of carbon dioxide and mercury emissions. Traditional funeral practices more often involve the use of non-biodegradable material and chemical which can result in significant environmental damage.
A Greener funeral option aims to minimize its impact on the environment by using more sustainable disposal methods and materials. Small changes, such as using a biodegradable coffin or organic materials can make a big difference. Similarly deciding to have a burial in natural burial ground limits the use of fossil fuels and you could even plant a native tree to offset your carbon footprint.
There are many different sites in the UK providing space to have a ‘Green Burial’. Also known as a Natural Burial or Woodland burial, these sites differ from tradition Cemeteries by prohibiting the use of non-biodegradable items or harmful chemicals. Many traditional coffins use metals and plastics that can harm the environment.
Green burials focus on returning the body back to the earth in an organic and environmentally friendly manner. A coffin is usually chosen which has been made of renewable materials and the body left to decompose naturally over time. With new trees, or bushes planted over the grave, instead of a traditional headstone, new growth is fostered.
At A.H. Cheater we have knowledge of all the Natural Burial Grounds available locally and we can guide you on the options that they present.
Coffins designs have moved on fast over the years and the different types available to the bereaved endless. Biodegradable coffins are designed to fulfil the eco conscious client’s commitments to sustainability. They are often created from organic and sustainable materials, that are renewable and break down naturally over time. Natural fibers and minimal adhesives are used to allow for the fastest possible decomposition allowing them to return to the earth with the least possible harm to the environment.
Some of the more common materials used in the design of biodegradable coffins are bamboo, willow, cane, seagrass and wool. We are able to provide a comprehensive selection of these types of coffins to our clients. Many of these coffin companies also design similar ashes caskets, which can be used following cremation to hold the ashes.
When considering a Greener Funeral, small changes can mean a lot. Choosing more environmentally friendly disposal options and types of coffins can be the major factors but deciding on small changes also helps. Is there a need to print hundreds of service sheets when the service venue has books? If you do, using recycled products is a good option. Where practical deciding not to have a deceased embalmed reduces the need for harmful substances to be used. Why not request the use of an electric vehicle to be used for the deceased’s journey to the crematorium, such as a Nissan Leaf converted hearse?
As a company we are committed to finding solutions for our environmentally conscious families, as well as reducing our own carbon footprint as a business. If you wish to find out more about a Green Funeral, then we are perfectly placed to offer you further guidance.