The idea of a green burial or cremation, or natural burial, is to ensure that the burial has minimal environmental impact. If you are concerned about your impact on the planet, you may wish to have a green burial or cremation when the time comes.
But what makes a natural burial 'green' and how do you go about arranging one?
What's so 'green' about a green burial?
The first element of a green burial that makes it green is the material from which the casket is made. All caskets are made from materials derived from easily renewable sources, such as wool, straw, or wicker. The caskets are also fully biodegradable, adding no toxic substances to the earth during decomposition. Many caskets and shrouds are made under fair trade conditions too.
All green burial grounds demand that green caskets or shrouds are used for all burials and cremations. The idea behind is to preserve the natural habitat of the cemetery and keep the groundwater clean. In the case of cremations, it's important that the cremains do not contain any toxic or harmful substances that could pollute the ground on which they are scattered.
Herbicides and weed killers are not used in the burial ground, and bodies are not permitted to be embalmed using conventional embalming techniques that could pollute the ground. Natural weed control methods are used to maintain the site and natural oils are used for the embalming process. Both these conditions help to protect the health of ground workers and embalmers.
How do you arrange a green burial?
If you are keen on having a green burial or cremation, it's a good idea to discuss the matter with a local funeral director. A good funeral director will have contacts within the 'industry', including details of suitable green burial grounds in the area. They will also be able to advise you on where to source a suitable casket or shroud.
Note that green burials are becoming increasingly popular so it's a good idea to book your plot at your preferred green burial location now, rather than taking a chance that somewhere will be available when it is actually needed.
Some funeral homes will happily arrange the whole thing for you, including sourcing a supplier of green headstones for the grave. Alternatively, you may have to research some of the elements of your green burial yourself via the internet.
Make sure that you stipulate in your will that you want a green burial or cremation and remember to include details of everything that you've arranged.
If you are environmentally conscious and you want to minimise your carbon footprint during your final journey, you may wish to consider a green burial. Take note of the information given above and have a chat with a good funeral director of your choice so that your wishes are in place well before your death.