As many people are aware of the “carbon footprint” they leave, in life its is becoming more popular to reduce that footprint in death. However, many are unaware of the option of a green burial as it is not high publicized. According to the Green Burial Council a “green, or natural burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.” Here is an explanation of a green burial and how it is better for the environment.
The biggest part of a green burial is the preservation of the environment and conservation of natural resources, which can be contributed mainly to a green casket. Commercially-produced caskets can take a very long time before they are completely broken down into the soil. Many caskets include metal parts, such as handles and hinges, as well as are created with paint or veneer. One must also consider the manufacturing and transporting of commercially-produced caskets which require energy and create carbon emissions. On the contrary, green burials use “green caskets,” or caskets made of renewable resources and biodegradable materials. There is a wide variety of material options such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, cork and teak that are used. These types of caskets are truly biodegradable and therefore, do not release toxins into the soil.
The next aspect is the protection of the health of industry workers. Embalming is prohibited in green burials, this is not only protect the environment but to also protect the health of funeral home workers. Embalming fluid, according to Everplans, “contains formaldehyde, a carcinogen that’s been proven to pose health risks to people who have regular exposure to the chemical.” Many green caskets are also created by fair-trade certified companies, therefore, those employed by the company are working in safe environments and are given a fair wage.
Green funeral homes and natural burial grounds, exist across the United States and are easily searchable. Each one is willing to help you along the way to ensure a burial is completely environmentally-friendly.