Going green is becoming a part of life for more and more people. If you want to make an impact beyond the eco-conscious decisions you make during your living years, you can opt for a green funeral. The traditional funeral makes a huge environmental impact, and a green funeral involves choosing to reduce that impact. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:
- Forgo Embalming: Embalming fluid contains large amounts of formaldehyde, plus other toxic chemicals. Not only are these chemicals dangerous for the people who have to work with them, once a body is buried, the chemicals can contaminate the surrounding soil and ground water.
- Choose a Biodegradable Casket: You don’t have to be buried in an expensive metal casket. A wooden casket is a simple, biodegradable choice with the added benefit of being friendly to your family’s pocketbook.
- Choose a Container Other Than a Casket: There is no law that requires you to be buried in a casket. Proponents of green burial recommend burial shrouds as an alternative to caskets. They also recommend biodegradable urns for those who opt to be cremated.
- Use a Green Burial Ground: Green burial grounds, or green cemeteries, are gaining popularity in the U.S. The burial practices used by these cemeteries are aimed at sustaining the environment, and include avoiding the use of metal caskets, burial vaults, and embalming. You can find a green burial ground or a green funeral provider by visiting the Green Burial Council.
- Consider Cremation: Cremation can be an environmentally friendly option, especially if you choose a newer facility that uses less fuel.
As with any funeral plans, once you’ve decided what you want, it’s important that you let your loved ones know your wishes. Many people include some version of their final wishes in their will, but it’s a good idea to discuss the topic ahead of time with those closest to you, and to keep your written funeral plans in a place where they can be accessed when they’re needed.