Today, planning a green funeral for a loved one is becoming increasingly popular and there are numerous eco-friendly options available. Green funerals are beneficial to both the family and the environment, and it is one of the better alternatives when choosing to arrange a memorial.
With all of the cost and extravagance of a conventional funeral, families are beginning to look into more cost-effective and practical funerals that have less of an impact on nature. Most people are quick to assume that a green funeral is one that is held in a cemetery with the use of a biodegradable casket. This is an option, but a green funeral is not limited to this alone and there are other ways to plan a funeral service that is considered to be eco-friendly.
People often overlook green funerals because they are concerned that they are non-traditional or more expensive. However, one of the best things about a green funeral is that it is very similar to a traditional funeral in many ways and is often less expensive. The following are some of the characteristics of a green funeral.
Green Funeral Planning Guide
Embalming is the process of chemically preserving a body. Each year millions of gallons of embalming fluid are put into the ground, which harms the environment. By choosing not to have the body embalmed, it will decompose naturally and embalming chemicals will not be released into the ground.
Choose a wood casket made of renewable locally sourced woods. Do not choose a metal casket or one made of a non-renewable hardwood. Individuals who are very environmentally conscious will choose a wicker casket or simply wrap the body in a cloth shroud.
Cremation is becoming increasingly popular and can have less of an impact on the environment than a traditional burial. However, a conventional cremation releases carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides into the air and has a significant impact on nature. New technology called Resomation ‘cremates’ the body using a solution of water and alkali, which reduces the toxins released into the air and is far more eco-friendly.
There are a number of ways that you can make environmentally friendly choices for a green funeral service.
Funeral Stationery – A guestbook, memorial folders, funeral programs, prayer cards and thank you cards are just a few of the types of stationery used at a traditional funeral. If you decide to use funeral stationery, choose stationery made from recycled paper. You can also use an online guestbook or email thank you cards to reduce the impact on the environment.
Flowers – Place a few simple flower arrangements at the funeral made from locally grown flowers that are in-season. Also, request that guests make a donation to a charity in lieu of bringing flowers to the funeral.
Procession – Make arrangements for guests to carpool or arrange for limos/buses. This includes transportation to and from the funeral and cemetery. Organizing transportation will reduce the toxic emissions from guests all driving their own cars to the funeral.
Food – If you are serving food at the funeral, choose to serve locally made and organic food.
Whether you bury your loved one, or have their remains cremated, friends and relatives like to have somewhere they can go to pay their respects to the deceased. In green funerals, living memorials have become a unique alternative to traditional gravestones and mausoleums. A tree or plant is often planted in tribute to the deceased person. It can mark the person’s remains, or be planted in another location, wherever your want to create a living memorial.
Online memorials are another form of living memorial that is very common. A memorial website is low-cost, easy to setup, and can remain online permanently for friends and family to share memories.
If a loved one has passed away you should consider planning a green funeral for him or her. Green funerals are becoming increasingly popular; however, not all funeral homes will offer eco-friendly options. Locate a funeral home that offers green services and have a funeral director explain what sustainable options are available. Furthermore, if you are planning a burial you will want to speak to local cemeteries about their green burial options. Make the smart choice and plan a green funeral for your loved one.
Updated: March 3, 2013