Green burials are an environment-friendly alternative to a traditional burial. Green burials also referred to as natural burials, impose less harm to the environment compared to conventional funerals.
Rather than concentrating on the funeral service, green burials focus more on the burial process and incorporate more sustainable methods and products. Although traditional burials are still the most common, more people are becoming concerned with the environment and are looking at green burials for loved ones. The following are some of the primary differences between green burials and traditional burials.
Green Burials Versus Traditional Burials
In a traditional burial the body is embalmed, which is a process of preserving the body with chemicals. The embalming process and the decomposition of an embalmed body both pose a risk to the environment. In a green burial the body is prepared without chemicals so that it can decompose naturally.
Traditional burials often use a metal or hardwood casket, which are not sustainable and can impact the local environment. All products used in green burials are environmentally friendly. If a casket is used to bury the body, it is made from locally harvested and sustainable wood, recycled paper, wicker, or other eco-friendly materials. Instead of a casket a simple cloth shroud can be used to bury the body.
The main point in question involving green and traditional funerals is the effect on the environment. Setting aside the issues of convenience and cost, the striking difference between the methods of arranging a service is on what they do to nature. Green burials do not use conventional grave markers that can detract from the natural landscape. Instead, natural markers are used including plants, trees or a small flat stone native to the local environment. The goal is to preserve the environment and attract wildlife, versus a traditional burial, which will use a large granite monument.
Green burials and traditional burials can take place in the same section of a cemetery. However, there are a number of cemeteries that are creating special sections of the cemetery that can be used for green funerals. A green cemetery will not use pesticides, herbicides or irrigation. Instead, the cemetery is a protected, natural environment, where friends and family can gather to pay respects to the deceased.
Green burials are typically less costly than traditional burials as there are less wasted expenditures on funeral products, such as metal caskets, flower arrangements and other decorative pieces. The focus of green burials is on the environment and using locally sourced materials is not only eco-friendly, but also less expensive.
For the sake of nature, it is important to look into a green burial instead of a traditional burial. The millions of funerals per year do harm to the environment and it is important to be one of the few who insists on making a difference. When you’re planning a funeral, locate a funeral home and cemetery that offer green funeral services. Discuss a green burial with your funeral director, who will be able to provide you with a list of funeral products and burial options available to you.
Green funerals adapt the popular idea of “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. In no means are you being less respectful because these eco-friendly plans are not the traditional services given. Not only do green funerals show respect to the deceased person, but also show respect to the local environment.
Updated: March 1, 2013