You may lead an eco-friendly life, but have you considered how your death will impact the planet? Years of “going green” can be undercut by your own funeral preparations which are financially and environmentally draining. Luckily, green burials can be a solution.
According to the Federal Trade Commission a traditional funeral, with a casket, flowers, and obituary notices, can cost $6,000 to $10,000. They’re also costly to the environment. Over 100,000 tons of steel (caskets and vaults) and over 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid are used every year in the U.S. alone. On the other hand, green burials are better for the planet and can cost 25 percent to 75 percent less than traditional funerals.
The phrase “green burials” encompasses many different types of eco-conscious funeral arrangements. Here are some popular green choices:
A natural burial by land
These types of funeral arrangements emphasize the importance of burying a body naturally. Embalming fluid is not used because it can be pollute the earth as the body decomposes. Loved ones are placed in wooden caskets and buried in green cemeteries or burial parks. Instead of a traditional headstone, graves may be marked with natural resources like rocks or plants. The cost generally ranges from $1,000 to $4,000.
An aquatic lay to rest
Eternal Reefs uses cremated remains and concrete to make “memorial reefs.” The reefs are personalized with plaques, messages, “mementoes” like small religious symbols and even handprints of family members. They are then lowered into the ocean, becoming homes to plants and animals alike. There are reef locations in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Maryland. They cost $3,000 to $7,000.
Ashes for sustaining life
The process of traditional cremation can harm the environment, creating 350 pounds of greenhouse gases per body. Fortunately, there are various greener methods of cremation. Cryomation boosts that it produces 75 percent less CO2 than traditional cremation. This process uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the body and a vacuum to remove moisture. What remains is a fine powder that you can use to plant a flower or tree.
Ashes in to diamonds
Diamonds are made of compressed carbon; well, one company LifeGem can turn a lock of hair or ashes of loved ones into diamonds. One lady in the UK reported turning her beloved four-legged friend into a fancy stone. Is it too far fetched; or a way to pass on the legacy and memory from one generation to the next?
If you are interested in learning more about green funeral arrangements, consider visiting the Green Burial Council website. They list helpful advice and local green funeral providers.