My Wonderful Life

Contrary to Popular Belief, it's Pretty Easy Being Green

posted on 5/9/11 by MyWonderfulLife.com Staff

We have watched the green movement pervade through many industries, and now more and more companies and funeral homes are offering services to reduce your green footprint, even after your death. This includes everything from no-casket burials to no-flame cremations.  In addition to being better for the earth, green burials can be less expensive and save you on the cost of expensive caskets, burial plots, and vaults. So this week MWL wanted to share all the wonderful information we been compiling about green burials and funerals. Enjoy!

 

Cremations:

Despite minimal emissions, cremations can be an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burials. Coffins can be a main source of environmental contamination, and cremation can sometimes even be the cheaper route to take.

In China, space in cemeteries has become a huge issue in a country with a death rate of 10 million per year. This is making the cost of burial plots unaffordable for some and if you want a tomb, the likelihood of its demise in 20 to 30 years is entirely possible. To combat the problem more and more biodegradable urns are being buried to save space in a country that holds 1/5 of the world’s population.

Partial sea burials were also recently introduced in Shanghai for similar reasons, the idea being that half of the remains are scattered at sea and the other half are buried in a tiny box.

Paris has little land dedicated to cemeteries and their tombs are recycled as well, sometimes every ten years. This problem has led architects to design plans for cemeteries in the sky, works of art reaching to the heavens so that people can have a truly final resting place.

 

Burials:

Traditional casket materials delay the decomposing process and can actually put harmful chemicals into the soil. Now there are many eco-friendly casket materials such as wool, willow wicker, bamboo, cardboard, and even shrouds made of cloth. You may even want to consider dressing the deceased in more natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, linen, or hemp.

Funeral directors in Birmingham are even offering to carry your deceased to their final resting place by transporting their coffins by bicycle. Read more here.

To be more environmentally conscious, you may actually want to decide against embalming. Chemicals used in the process such as formaldehyde are very toxic and could actually put harmful chemicals back into the earth.

 

Natural Burial Grounds:

The Foxfield Preserve in Ohio, first and foremost a nature preserve, offers two different types of burial areas that give you an idea of the type of options you have for natural burials. One area, more like a prairie, only allows native wildflowers to be planted. But don’t worry, each plot is recorded and can be found using GPS coordinates. The other area allows for foresting, where families will purchase trees ahead of time for their grave sites. The Foxfield Preserve has yet to see a shroud burial, however the executive director Gordon Maupin says they expect to, and there’s no reason not to.

 

Green Funeral Resources:

 

Green Burial Information:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-is-a-green-funeral.html

http://thestir.cafemom.com/healthy_living/118810/how_to_have_a_green

 

Natural Burial Sites:

http://www.greenburialgrounds.com/

http://www.foxfieldpreserve.org/

 

Expenses:

http://blogs.forbes.com/tombarlow/2011/05/04/dying-to-overspend-in-america/

 

Image Source: Foxfield Preserve

1 Previous comment:

Thanks so much for putting up this post and for helping people learn that natural funeral and burial options are becoming more available.

A lot of people might be surprised to learn that they can probably get a basic natural burial - i.e., one where you use a biodegradable coffin and are buried WITHOUT an outer burial container - right now, in some still active historic or publicly owned cemetery within 50-100 miles of where they live. "Plain pine boxes" have been around for a long time!

http://www.naturalend.com has a list of cemeteries and funeral directors pledging to offer basic natural services.

in trees!


Cynthia Beal
http://www.beatree.com
http://www.naturalburialcompany.com

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