Being eco-friendly can extend well beyond our living days on earth. Death is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop protecting Planet Earth. By opting for a more environmentally friendly funeral over a traditional one, you can continue to help the environment by leaving the world in a greener, gentler, and better way. Here are six suggestions for having an eco-friendly funeral or eco-funeral.
Simplify Burial Rituals
The primary goal of natural or green burials is to return the body to the earth in a natural way that does not damage the environment. This frequently entails burying the deceased without traditional coffins or using toxic embalming chemicals so that the body and vessel can disintegrate naturally.
Green burials are all about simplicity. For example, the body is wrapped in a shroud and placed in a modest casket. There will be no elaborately decorated caskets or concrete vaults. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” as the saying goes, is the principle underlying green burials.
Choose Biodegradable Vessels
Timber, such as hardwood, and metals, such as steel and copper, are common materials used to make funeral vessels like caskets, coffins, vaults, and other containers for burying or cremating a body. Unfortunately, the manufacturing process of these vessels can cause substantial environmental impact.
If possible, choose eco-friendly vessels. For instance, an eco-coffin constructed of biodegradable materials is a more sustainable option as it reduces carbon emissions by around half compared to traditional coffins. You can also consider other sustainable materials like bamboo, willow, pine and banana leaves.
Shroud the Body
Embalming fluids are often toxic and pose a threat to our health and the environment. After the remains are buried, toxins from the fluids can leach into the earth. If a body is cremated, these chemicals can potentially pollute the atmosphere during the cremation process.
Shrouds are one of the most environmentally friendly solutions to this problem. They are used to cover bodies before they are placed in the casket and are typically made from big pieces of cloth such as cotton, linen, wool, bamboo or muslin. If you’re using a shroud, make sure to add an absorbent layer to soak up the fluids from the rotting body, as well as a backboard for easy transportation of the body. Some shrouds may also incorporate slots or pockets for storing mementoes.
Consider Low-Impact Cremations
While cremation has a lower carbon impact than traditional burial, it still has its own set of environmental issues. Using wood as a cremation fuel, for example, results in high energy costs and the depletion of natural resources. Furthermore, the cremation process can emit toxic chemicals and contaminants into the atmosphere.
With the advancement of technology, there are now cleaner ways to cremate. Eco-friendly cremations or eco-cremations are carried out using biodegradable caskets or coffins and without using hazardous chemicals to embalm the deceased.
Bio-cremation is another option for a clean cremation. This process uses a chamber containing water, heat, pressure, and potassium hydroxide to break down the remains of the body into white, ashy substances. However, bio-cremation is only legally available in the United States at the moment.
Use Eco-Friendly Urns
Urns built from eco-friendly materials including coconut shells, sustainable wood, hemp, recycled paper or cloth, cornstarch and newer materials like compacted peat and cellulose are commonly used in eco-friendly cremations. In addition, these urns can be designed in various styles and shapes to suit diverse preferences.
There are also water urns designed to decompose naturally when exposed to water. Urns composed of Himalayan salt, sand, and shell are also other examples of biodegradable urns. Some urns, known as memorial tree urns, include seeds that grow into tree burial, flowers or plants using the ashes of the departed.
Engage A Eco-Funeral Home Company
If you’re going green, make it a point to have an environmentally friendly ceremony. Consider using natural materials, such as recycled paper and locally-sourced organic flowers, food and beverages. Plan a smaller service and encourage people to carpool. It’s also a good idea to hire a funeral home company and funeral service director specialising in eco-friendly funerals.
If an eco funeral is something you’d like to consider for your loved ones, talk to a professional funeral home company to assist you with all of the required arrangements to ensure a seamless and memorable eco-funeral ceremony.