Have you ever considered eco friendly green burials when a loved one passes away? When I was growing up, I lived right next door to a cemetery. I learned to ride my bicycle along the cement paths and liked to wander through the gravestones and wonder about the life of each of the people buried there. Now, 30 years later, my parents live in a NEW state…right across the street from another cemetery. When I visit with the kids, we walk through the paths and wonder about the lives of each of the people named on the gravestones. My children see the fallen soldiers, the families, and the babies who only lived a few short days. They understand that there is nothing scary about a cemetery…it is just a place to bury our loved ones so that WE have a place to go and mourn them. Cemeteries can be small family plots on private property or huge tracts of land where thousands of men, women, and children are laid to rest. Nowadays, more and more people are cremated before burial so that their remains take up less space…in a world where open tracts of land are getting hard to find, space is a definite concern.
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So, what brings me to this rather morbid topic today? When I was cruising around the latest green news websites I encountered a story about recycled coffins. No, this is not a coffin that is reused. It is a coffin made from recycled newspapers! The ecopod biodegrades naturally over time when placed in the ground, unlike traditional caskets. You can even get a cremation urn made in the same style if you prefer to be cremated. If you are considering eco friendly green burials, the item that holds your body is a huge consideration.
Think About This: In 2007 (the latest statistics I could find) approximately 2.5 million people died in the US alone. After a person dies, as difficult as it is to accept, the body is just not necessary anymore. But we, the survivors, need to care for that body somehow and find it a resting place. That is obviously just for our own peace of mind and to aid in the grieving process but it still needs to be done. So, in our ever crowded and polluted world, how do we handle things when a loved one passes away? Maybe we need to consider our own mortality and put our decisions down on paper for our loved ones to consider when it is our turn to leave this Earth. My husband and I have both discussed eco friendly green burial options so that when the time comes, the right decisions can be made.
According to the statistics I found, we bury over 30 million board feet of wood, over 90,000 tons of steel, and more than 830,000 gallons of embalming fluid every year. None of this is great for the environment but what choices do you have? Cremation is slightly better than a traditional burial in terms of resources used but it requires fossil fuel and results in some minimal air pollution. Eco friendly green burials may be a good solution.
There is actually a non-profit organization called the Green Burial Council. It establishes standards for cemeteries, funeral providers, and burial products that are environmentally sustainable but dignified.
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If you would like to know what options exist in your area for green burial, click here. I found mention of green cemeteries in NC, GA, NY, and CA just to name a few. These natural cemeteries offer burial with biodegradable caskets and no embalming fluid. They will plant trees, plants or flowers in memory of your loved one and use natural stones for grave markers.
Burial at sea is one green burial option. You can contact Eternal Reefs, an organization that will incorporate a person’s cremated remains into artificial reefs. They mix remains into a cement-based product and make “reef balls” that are introduced into areas where aquatic life is struggling to thrive. You could spend eternity hanging out with the fishes. This is one of the eco friendly green burial options my husband and I have discussed and seems to be his favorite so far.
Another option: Did you know it is perfectly legal to bury your loved one on your own property? You just need a permit! Of course, if you think you are going to move anytime soon that may not be an option you want to consider.
What about cost? A green burial can be a great way to save money. A conventional funeral can cost $5,000- 9,000 or more. A burial at a green cemetery can save you several thousand dollars and a simple back-yard burial can cost less than $1000 in total. Eco friendly green burials definitely seem to be a sound financial decision as well as being good for the earth.
So, when you are making out your will and getting your papers in order, consider how you will be laid to rest. If you have tried to spend your life reducing your carbon footprint maybe you can consider doing the same after you pass away!
Have you ever considered eco friendly green burials?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.