Choosing to have a green funeral is becoming increasingly common in our environmentally conscious society. With more and more green funerals being planned in the US every year, it is only a matter of time until they become more widespread in the UK.
But why would one choose a green funeral? Well, quite simply, our own death can have a detrimental impact on the environment.
For instance, it has been revealed that cremation emits over 6.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which accounts for 0.02% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. With 75% of people in the UK choosing to be cremated when they die, and each cremation using around the same amount of domestic energy as a person uses in a month, this type of funeral leaves a rather large carbon
Cremations also cause approximately 16% of mercury pollution in the UK, with the government estimating that this figure could rise to 25% in 2020. This research has resulted in the authorities forcing cremators to fit mercury filters in order to limit omissions.
Traditional burials have an equally harmful effect upon the environment. Approximately 30 million feet of wood are cut down every year in America to make caskets, with much of this wood being high-quality mahogany. There is also enough steel used in the caskets and vaults of North America to build a structure the size of the Golden Gate Bridge.
So while there have been measures to limit the environmental impact of funerals, the best way to truly protect the environment is to have a green funeral.
What Is A Green Funeral?
Well, green funerals break from the norm as they do not use concrete vaults, metal coffins, or chemicals such as formaldehyde embalming fluid.
Currently, the most popular type of green funeral is the woodland burial. It is a great choice for the environmentally conscious individual, as having a woodland burial helps to create a protected piece of land for future generations.
A green funeral features a biodegradable coffin that is usually made from cardboard, bamboo, sea grass, willow, or sustainable wood, and a service where a native tree is planted on (or close to) the grave. Generally, a flat memorial engraved stone or wooden plaque is used to identify the grave.
Each site is also managed in order to encourage native animals, plants, and wild flowers. Many green burial sites can even allow you to pre-choose the vegetation planted around your burial site.
Often, as green cemeteries act as a nature reserves, your loved ones are encouraged to hike and picnic in the natural surroundings. Many people find this more comforting than paying your respects at a traditional cemetery.
So if you are thinking of making your future funeral plans, maybe you would like to consider having a green funeral. It is certainly the best way to look after your family, even after you have left them.