If you have concerns about the environmental impact of your burial or cremation, you’re not alone. More and more people are opting for greener options when it comes to planning their burial or cremation. While there are several cemeteries in the United States that are Green Burial certified, they might not be accessible to everyone. Green burials boast the name because they typically don’t involve environmentally damaging chemicals like embalming fluids and wood lacquers. If you’re looking for a way to have a green burial or cremation in your city, here are five ways to make it greener.
- Simple wooden casket. A simple wooden casket is a casket without glue, metal, or wood varnish, which can be harmful for the environment. These can be decorated and personalized by family members, which can be a deeply meaningful experience. To be green, linings or interiors should be made of unbleached fabric or natural materials like wool, cotton fiber, or even straw.
- Woven casket. These caskets are typically made of willow, bamboo, or wicker and can be quite beautiful and detailed in design. Woven caskets can even be made of sugar cane or banana leaves. Unlike some green burial options, woven caskets tend to be sturdier compared to other biodegradable options. Woven caskets can be used for both burial and cremation.
- Shroud. A shroud is a large piece of fabric used to wrap a body before burial. It can be made of unbleached cotton, muslin, linen, silk, wool, bamboo, or help. It can be plain, or the family may decide to decorate it. Some cemeteries have rules against using shrouds, but you may be able to use one if you’re looking to have a green burial in more rural locations.
- Tree pod. If you’d like to give something back to the environment after you pass away, a tree pod is a great choice. For burial, the body would be placed in a pod that would eventually decompose in the soil, and a tree would be planted on top of it. However, this type of green burial is still in the development stages. For cremations, ashes can be places in biodegradable urns with a tiny sapling or seed on top. When the urn decomposes, the ashes will mix with the soil and grow the seed or sapling into a tree.
- Paper urns. Paper or fiber urns can still be displayed in the home or buried. They can come in different shapes, like small boxes, tubes, hearts, circles, or flowers. They can be made out of materials like recycled paper, hemp, sand and gelatin, or even cornstarch. This type of urn could even be placed in water where it would eventually dissolve and spread the ashes.
Having a green burial or cremation can be a wonderful way to literally become one with the environment. It can also conserve natural resources, eliminate hazardous chemicals, and preserve natural areas. In many cases, green options are much lower than other more expensive options.
It’s important to note that many cities have different rules and regulations when it comes to burials and cremations. This means you should do your research ahead of time so you know your city’s rules for having a green burial or cremation.