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Home > Resources > Environmentally Friendly Funerals

An eco friendly has influenced all aspects of life from transportation to food and music festivals. You can also be considerate to the environment in death with an environmentally friendly funeral. Between clearing areas out to create burial sites, green house gases due to cremation, trees cut down to make caskets and embalming fluid which contains chemicals like formaldehyde other solvents burials are not environmentally friendly. Below follow a few alternative options to ensure you make your contribution to the earth long after you are gone.

 
Cardboard Coffins
 
Cardboard Coffins
 
Cardboard coffins are ideal for cremations as it cuts the cremation time by half which means less carbon emissions. Besides being environmentally friendly, an advantage of the cardboard coffin is that one can customise the coffin with an image of one’s choice.
 
Tree Tombstones
 
Tree Tombstones
 
The use of trees as tombstones has become more widespread. An indigenous tree is specially planted, with the deceased’s details on a plaque, marks the burial spot.
 
Coffin Cover
 
Coffin Cover
 
One of the concerns of biodegradable coffins is that their appearance is simply not elegant and distinguished as coffins made the traditional way. With Coffin Cover one can still give the illusion of a “normal” coffin by is covering the plain biodegradable coffin with a removable “outer” coffin. This outer coffin is later removed and reused. The funeral cost as well as the impact to the environment is dramatically lowered.
 
Promessa
 
Promessa
 
A Swedish ecologist Susanne Wiigh-Masak developed a method using human remains as fertiliser. Within a few days after death the body is frozen in liquid nitrogen which makes the body brittle. Ultrasound waves are then used to crack open the tissues to let the nitrogen work right to the core. The frozen bodies shatter into a powder with the tap of a hammer. The result is a hygienic odourless powder that can be used to fertilise plants.
 
Transgenic Tombstones
 
Transgenic Tombstones
 
An English company Biopresence, uses a specially developed coding method to encode human DNA underneath the DNA of a plant cell, without affecting the resulting tree in any way. This way the person's DNA will live on as an integral part of the tree. These new kind of trees considered "Memorials for Life" or "Transgenic Tombstones" and seen as an alternative to traditional graves and headstones.

Here is a burial that can be considered environmentally friendly but not recommended for people outside of the Tibetan culture:

 
Tibetan “Sky burial”
 
Tibetan “Sky burial”
 
With soil too hard for digging graves and a scarcity in fuel and timber the Tibetans found an alternative way to lay their dead to rest. Sky burial, also known as a ritual dissection, used to be a common funerary practice where a human corpse is cut in specific locations and placed on a mountaintop which leaves it exposed to the elements and animals such as birds of prey.

Sky burial is a ritual that has great religious meaning which Tibetans are encouraged to witness, to confront death openly and to feel the impermanence of life. Most Tibetans are Buddhists and believe in reincarnation therefore consider the corpse is nothing more than an empty vessel.



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