Are you looking to have a proper funeral for your loved one that is also environmentally friendly?
While it may seem silly to worry about the environment when planning a funeral for a loved one, if your loved one was someone who cared deeply about the environment, then planning a green funeral can be a great way to honor them.
But, how do you plan a green funeral?
Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about having a green funeral.
Consider Eco-Friendly Cremation
When most people think of having an eco-friendly funeral, they think that cremation should be avoided. After all, most forms of cremation release harmful chemicals into the environment.
In fact, a recent study found that cremating a body is equivalent to driving 500 miles in a car. Cremating a body releases approximately 400kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, cremation uses gas, which is a precious natural resource, in order to produce carbon dioxide.
Luckily, if it’s your loved one’s wish to have their body cremated, you can opt for eco friendly cremation.
This type of cremation involves using an energy-efficient crematorium so that the environmental effects of flame-based cremation is reduced. Eco-friendly cremation also takes additional steps to ensure that no metals or medical devices are incinerated. Additionally, this process avoids burning plastics and reducing the overall incineration time.
In the hands of the right professional, green cremation can be extremely eco-conscious as well as cost-effective.
Consider Water Cremation
Water cremation is another environmentally-friendly form of cremation that’s currently legal in 20 states.
This type of cremation, known as alkaline hydrolysis, doesn’t involve the use of flames at all. Instead, the body is submerged into an alkaline water solution. This then accelerates the natural decomposition process.
Not only is this process incredibly eco-friendly, but it’s also much more cost-effective than a green burial.
Consider a Green Burial
If your loved one wishes to be buried, then you can still make their funeral more eco-friendly by opting for a green burial.
A green burial is much like a traditional burial, just without all of the interventions of a funeral home. With a green burial, the body is placed into a pine coffin or wrapped into a biodegradable shroud. This allows the body to decompose naturally.
Green burials do not use vaults, coffins, or toxic chemicals. The bodies are typically buried three feet underground in order to speed up the decomposition process. To take the green burial process one step further, you can also bury your loved one in an environmentally-friendly burial ground.
Go for Grief Balls
If you want, you can take the green cremation process one step further by opting for grief balls. Grief ball companies turn your ashes into something that is environmentally-friendly.
For example, there are some companies that transform cremation remains into reef balls or artificial coral reefs. These balls can then be placed into the ocean in order to support marine life.
Currently, coral reefs are experiencing significant deterioration, so this act can be extremely beneficial to the environment.
Host a Meat-Free Wake
Meat production takes a significant toll on the environment. In fact, a recent report by the United Nations stated that shifting toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.
If your loved one was vegan or vegetarian, hosting a meat-free wake is a great way to honor them and promote this type of diet.
Nowadays, there are many vegan and vegetarian catering companies out there, so finding the right foods shouldn’t be a problem.
In Lieu of Flowers
While it’s traditional to send flowers to the bereaved, cut flowers come with a high environmental price.
To cut down on all of the flower gifts, one thing you can do is ask for donations in lieu of flowers. You can request that your loved ones donate to an environmentally-friendly charity or some other charity that your loved one cared deeply about instead of giving flowers.
If you’re sending out invitations for the funeral, then it’s a good idea to encourage guests to ride-share to the funeral procession to cut down on gas.
If people are traveling from outside the city, you can also encourage them to take trains or busses instead of planes if possible. Doing so can be a great way to reduce their carbon footprint.
We also suggest choosing a funeral location that’s convenient for the most amount of people. This way, your guests aren’t having to travel a great distance to attend.
Choose the Right Coffin
While we’ve touched on this a little bit already, choosing the right coffin can be a great way to make the funeral more eco-friendly.
If you’d like to stick with a traditional-looking coffin, then consider materials other than mahogany, as it comes from an endangered rainforest tree. Instead, opt for coffins that are made from sustainably-sourced wood.
There are even companies out there that make beautiful coffins from wood waste and biodegradable coffin linings. You can also find biodegradable coffins made from materials like cardboard, wicker, water hyacinth, banana leaves, or bamboo.
Have an Eco-Conscious House Clearing
When the funeral is over, you’ll still have the task of clearing out your loved one’s home.
Instead of throwing away things that are no longer needed, we suggest donating them to organizations. Some organizations you can donate to include:
- Community Repaint
- Habitat for Humanity Restore.
You should also opt to recycle as many items as you can instead of throwing them away.
Are You Ready to Host a Green Funeral?
Now that you’ve read this article, you should be better prepared to host a green funeral. As we mentioned earlier, a green funeral is a great way to honor both your loved one and the environment.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips on funeral planning.