The rise of the ecological/green funeral
The green funeral is rising in popularity as people think more and more about their footprint on the world and the effects a traditional burial or cremation can have on the environment. Green funerals usually involve a natural burial which allows the body to recycle naturally without the use of chemical preservatives and with the use of a biodegradable coffin or even a simple shroud. Often instead of headstones or plaques the grave is memorialized with a tree, flowers or shrubs.
The Association of Natural Burial Grounds was founded in 1994 and they help to establish sites where natural burials take place as well as providing guidance to those who run such sites. There are now 300 dedicated natural burial sites in the UK. It was in fact the UK that pioneered this green way of performing funerals.
The rise in popularity of this burial method has been mainly because of the baby boomer generation heading in to retirement. Many like the idea of returning to the earth and not leaving a carbon footprint as well as the monetary benefits. The idea of a green burial is very unpretentious and for many this is an important feature. It gives the alternate option to a traditional ceremony where there is a coffin or cremation, which creates pollution.
Whilst these burials are still a growing trend, increasing numbers of funeral directors are offering the eco-friendly burial. These can be cheaper than a traditional burial, this is because there is no use of expensive coffins or embalming fluids. However, a green burial is still usually a more expensive option compared to a cremation, though this is not good for the environment either. Cremation is still the option with the fastest growing popularity.
Natural burial grounds have sustainable plans for sites once they are ‘full’, many hope to pass the land to wildlife charities or similar organisations. Though some fear that organisations will not want to take on full burial grounds due to conflict of management with visiting relatives. However these sites are planning to ensure a positive and sustainable future for them by keeping maintenance funds. Other ideas are to use the grounds for agricultural use or to keep a sustainable woodland through the plantation of memorial trees.
If you’re interested in a green burial as part of your funeral plan, take a further look at this option here .