People are increasingly concerned about the impact that they have on the world we live in. Some may wish to have a completely “green” funeral, whereas others may wish to incorporate some environmentally friendly elements. A funeral is often a time for reflection and including “greener” options can be a powerful signal to those present.
Choosing a coffin made from biodegradable materials (such as cardboard, willow or bamboo) is a common way to minimise your impact on the environment. However, it is also important to know how far these coffins have travelled as more locally grown and manufactured options may be preferable.
If you would prefer a wooden (or wood effect) coffin, then there are still greener choices such as locally sourced hardwoods like oak or cherry and softwoods like pine. Manufacturers will be able to advise where the wood has been grown and whether it is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) registered.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to use a coffin at all. Alternatives, such as a material shroud are an increasingly popular and green, alternative.
Burial, compared to cremation, is a greener choice (as it avoids the mercury, dioxin and carbon monoxide emissions associated with cremation). Furthermore, burial closer to the surface (such as in a natural burial ground) means that decomposition becomes aerobic and is more beneficial.
You may wish to consider how far the body and the mourners travel and the type of fuel used in transportation. Choosing a local burial ground and having the service in the same location may be possible and you may wish to consider using our electric hearse and limo. Mourners can be encouraged to share cars or travel together in a larger vehicle.
Other things to consider
There are a number of other things to consider when contemplating making greener choices:
Avoid embalming to ensure that formaldehyde does not leak into the ground after burial
Ensure that flowers are sourced locally, or handpicked from your own garden
Avoid use of cellophane and only use natural materials in floral arrangements
Minimise the use of funeral stationary and ensure that any paper used is recycled
Choose a memorial location which you can visit without having to travel far by car
Making a contribution to the Woodland Trust or a carbon offset scheme from your estate could offset an entire life’s carbon footprint (estimated to cost approximately £8,000)