You do your best to care for the world you live in by reducing your carbon footprint, recycling and researching the ethical standards of the companies you buy from. What most people don’t realize is that after death, standard burials are so harmful that they may negate the green choices someone made in life. Luckily, there are many natural burial choices that allow you to keep your environmental standards high, even in death.
Natural Burial vs. Traditional
For each of the 7.9 billion people alive today,
it’s thought there are 15
people buried below. Let’s look at the environmental cost of those burials.
Most caskets use an abundance of natural resources including wood, iron and copper. The amount of timber used each year for caskets alone gobbles up around 400 million acres of forest. Each casket with a burial vault protecting it from the elements uses around 3,000 pounds of cement. Natural burials rely on compostable materials to house the deceased.
The embalming process uses formaldehyde—a known carcinogen. It’s estimated that 800,000 gallons of this non-biodegradable toxin are in the ground, entering our water tables. Chemicals are used to slow down the inevitable decomposition process so there can be a viewing for the family and friends of the deceased.
Green burials eliminate this toxin, using plant-based fluid instead or bypassing a viewing altogether. There are beautiful keepsakes available as an alternative to a one-time viewing. Memorial blankets offer soft comfort and can be displayed or used for years to keep a loved one’s memory alive while being gentle to the environment—design a beautiful memorial blanket here.
A standard grave plot is 2 ½ feet wide by 8 feet long and 6 feet deep. This amounts to a tremendous amount of space on earth taken from the living and filled with non-biodegradable toxins and materials. Natural burials often use biodegradable caskets and honor the deceased with small stones, plants and trees. Garden memorial services incorporate natural elements like flowers and memorial rocks to honor a loved one in a more natural, less obtrusive way.
Natural Burial Options
Today, funeral homes are offering greener disposition processes and products, cemeteries are designating areas for
natural burials and there are even entire cemeteries dedicated exclusively to green burials.
Eco-friendly burial options are gaining popularity, as people understand the impact just one traditional burial plot has on the planet.
Ornate and expensive caskets are being replaced with containers that will break down after burial. Some options include:
- Solid wood coffin with no glue, metal or paint
- Cardboard containers
- Woven caskets free of varnish or paint
- Natural fabric burial shrouds
Plant-Based Disposition Methods
Talk to your funeral director about alternatives to formaldehyde. They can often offer options that aren’t toxic. Consider not having a viewing so chemicals are eliminated entirely.
Today, more and more people are choosing services as a celebration of life rather than spending a lot of money focusing on how the deceased will be encapsulated in the ground. Going green with a natural burial doesn’t mean skipping how you memorialize a loved one.
People can gather in a traditional setting, have a home funeral or an outdoor celebration—whatever is comfortable and gives closure to those left behind. We suggest honoring your loved one with a personalized funeral collage poster. These lasting tributes highlight milestones and capture the essence of who the person was in life.
Please reach out to us for more ideas on how to honor those who have passed and keep their memories alive with personalized products that celebrate the person who touched so many lives.
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