Eco-friendly farewells: Do I have green funeral options?

When it comes to planning a funeral, there is a growing trend towards eco-friendly options. As more people become conscious of their impact on mother earth, many are seeking ways to ensure that even their final farewell can be a sustainable one. From natural burials to eco-friendly caskets, there are several green funeral options available that allow individuals to make environmentally responsible choices when it comes to funeral services. In this article, let’s explore some of these options.


Natural Burials

Natural burials are now quite popular today as the number one eco-friendly alternative to traditional burial practices. These more ”organic” burials aim to minimize environmental impact by allowing the body to decompose naturally and return to the earth as it would in the olden days. 

Instead of using chemical-laden embalming fluids and concrete burial vaults that mess with the earth, natural burials involve placing the body in a biodegradable casket or shroud directly into the ground. The burial sites are often located in designated natural burial grounds, which are carefully managed to preserve and protect the surrounding ecosystems.


Green Caskets

In this case, green doesn’t refer to the color but the material. Traditional caskets are often fabricated out of sturdy materials that do not biodegrade. Examples of these are metal, hardwood, or other composite products. 

In contrast, green caskets are made from sustainable and biodegradable materials. Since these materials will decompose a lot faster, there’s less impact on mother nature. These caskets can be crafted from materials like:

  • Bamboo
  • Willow
  • Rattan
  • Cardboard boxes 
  • Recycled paper or cloth

Not only are these natural caskets environmentally friendly, but they also offer a unique and natural aesthetic that appeals to those seeking a green funeral option.


Biodegradable Urns

One of the most popular alternatives to burial is cremation, but it’s not without environmental implications. Looking for a reputable crematorium that follows environmental protocols is crucial. Those with proper certifications follow safety standards. 

On top of that, opting for biodegradable urns can assuage those with environmental concerns. These products are typically made from materials like recycled paper, salt, sand, or plant fibers, which are designed to break down naturally and easily over time whether buried or placed in water. A biodegradable urn is more sustainable. It’s certainly an eco-friendly way to hold the cremated remains of a loved one since their final resting place has a minimal impact on the planet.


Sustainable Floral Arrangements and Alternatives

Beautiful floral arrangements are a common feature at funerals, but they can have a significant environmental impact through pesticides, water consumption, and the carbon footprint associated with transportation. To make farewell ceremonies more eco-friendly, individuals can consider sustainable floral options and other alternatives.

For starters, choose locally sourced, organic flowers that are grown without the use of harmful chemicals. These flowers are not only better for the environment but also support local farmers and reduce transportation emissions. Moreover, potted plants or living arrangements that can be taken home and cared for after the funeral provide a lasting tribute that continues to grow and thrive.

For those looking to reduce floral waste, choosing dried flowers or creating handmade floral arrangements using recycled paper works wonderfully. Additionally, memorial donations to environmental organizations or planting trees in honor of the deceased can be meaningful alternatives to traditional floral arrangements. These sustainable options minimize harm to the planet while still maintaining the beauty and symbolism of floral tributes.


Sustainable Memorialization

In addition to the funeral itself, there are also eco-friendly options if you wish to create a memorial. For example, traditional grave headstones made of granite or marble aren’t the most sustainable choice since they require extensive mining and quarrying. Both processes have a significant environmental impact. 

Sustainable memorialization options include using natural markers, such as stones or trees, to commemorate a loved one’s life. Another option is the use of biodegradable memorial products, such as plantable seed paper or biodegradable plaques. These alternatives allow for a meaningful and sustainable way to remember and honor those who have passed away.


Carbon Offsetting and Sustainable Transportation

In addition to the choices directly related to the funeral itself, another important aspect of eco-friendly farewells is considering the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Traditional funerals often involve long-distance travel for family and friends to attend the services. However, individuals can opt for sustainable transportation options or offset the carbon emissions associated with travel.

For instance, more eco-friendly modes of transportation like using an electric vehicle or carpooling are great options for staunch eco-warriors. Additionally, some funeral homes now offer carbon offset programs where individuals can contribute to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to offset the carbon footprint generated by transportation, embalming, or cremation procedures. By considering these initiatives, individuals can further contribute to creating an eco-friendly farewell that aligns with their values.


Final Thoughts

In the quest for eco-friendly farewells, it is heartening to see the emergence of various green funeral options. From natural burials and green caskets to sustainable memorialization, individuals now have a range of choices to ensure that their final farewell is environmentally responsible. These options not only reduce the ecological impact associated with traditional funeral practices but also provide an opportunity for individuals to leave a positive environmental legacy. Ultimately, these farewells provide a meaningful way to celebrate a loved one’s life while also respecting and preserving the natural world. By embracing these green funeral options, everyone can contribute to a more sustainable future, even in their final moments.