We are too. Let’s talk about how we can improve our burial traditions.
The environmentally-friendly funeral industry is booming recently as more and more people look into the impact decomposing bodies have on our planet. But what constitutes a green burial? How can you make your pre-planning eco-friendly?
Usually when we talk about a green funeral, body disposal is the first question clients have. So let’s discuss the alternatives to a regular burial in a mahogany casket and a lined plot. First thing to consider: how is the body being embalmed? Typical embalming fluid includes harsh chemicals like formaldehyde and rubbing alcohol. These chemicals can be harmful to the soil and poison to future plants. Using essential oils instead of these unnatural chemicals is a greener alternative to traditional embalming.
The next aspect to consider is the casket. Instead of a heavy wood or metal box that will take decades to degrade, consider a more natural alternative. Check out the Green Burial Council website for certified biodegradable casket materials like cedar. Or instead, think about a “natural burial,” which doesn’t require a casket at all.
Perhaps burial is not a requirement for you. In that case, let’s talk about cremation. Though traditional cremation is more eco-friendly than traditional burial, cremation still requires a huge amount of energy and resources and does release harmful toxins into the air. To improve the greenness of this practice, a popular alternative is called “green cremation.” This method uses a bath of chemicals to dissolve the body before exposing it to any natural resources. Double check that this is legal in your state before you pursue it too actively!
An even more unique alternative to burial or cremation is called an eternal reef. This is a reef made out of human cremains and concrete. These reef formations are desperately needed in natural and man-made reefs around the world. Human impact on reefs have severely affected marine life, and reefs like these are excellent for creating habitats for fish and plants that build their homes around it.
Green funerals are not all about scientific solutions for environmental impact, however. Environmentalism is also about minimalism. How can you reduce your funeral plans to be more simple? Can you forego imported or out-of-season flowers? Can you choose a healthier or more natural variety of food to serve?
Baby boomers and younger folks alike are researching green funeral options because the general awareness of the dangers of our environmentally harmful practices are becoming more commonly known. Green burial options and alternatives are here to stay, and there are great business opportunities in this emerging field as well. Scientific research and creative thinking are the basis of this attitude shift. Focusing on how to improve the planet even after death is a great indicator of how society is changing its priorities. Be a part of the trend for good by choosing green alternatives as you pre-plan your services.