A new trend in death planning is the green burial in which people cut down the impact of their burial on the environment by planning to use eco-friendly options in the disposition of their remains. Green burials require fewer resources for the care of the body which make them better for the environment; another benefit of a green burial is lower funeral costs. For more information about green burials, follow our link to the New York Times.
Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What to Know
By Sonya Vatomsky | New York Times
A typical American funeral usually involves a few hallmarks we’ve come to expect: an expensive coffin, lots of flowers, an embalming for the deceased and a number of other add-ons.
But how necessary are those embellishments? Enter the “green burial.”
The specifics of a green burial vary widely, but typically they require far fewer resources for the care of the body and skip a number of the traditional steps, making them better for the environment. Plus, they can save families on funeral costs.
Interest in these pared-down, eco-friendly options has grown as people look for ways to cut their carbon footprint. Nearly 54 percent of Americans are considering a green burial, and 72 percent of cemeteries are reporting an increased demand, according to a survey released earlier this year by the National Funeral Directors Association.
Death planning may not be at the top of your mind, but if you’re curious about looking into a green burial, here’s what to know.
What exactly is a green burial?
The Green Burial Council’s steps for minimizing negative environmental effects include forgoing embalming, skipping concrete vaults, rethinking burial containers and maintaining and protecting natural habitat. Choices can be made at each step of the death care process to limit waste, reduce the carbon footprint and even nourish the local ecosystem.
Embalming, vaults and coffins can be expensive, with the national median cost of a funeral reaching upward of $8,500, according to the N.F.D.A. Replacing them with other options or scrapping them altogether can save money as well as the environment, since you’re not spending on extraneous items or putting them into the ground.
The extent of how “green” a burial can be is up to the individual; the service can be as simple as wrapping the deceased in a cotton shroud before lowering them into the ground. The services can also become more complicated, involving a memorial ceremony and burial in a conservation park like Washington’s Greenacres, where families can choose to plant a variety of plants, flowers and shrubs on the grave.
These aren’t entirely new ideas — the funeral traditions of many religions, for example, are in line with these steps. [Read entire article]