From harnessing the power of natural energy to finding new ways to power homes and cars, it’s safe to say that “going green” is no longer just a trend. People are genuinely concerned about preserving and protecting the earth for future generations. Naturally, they are looking for more ways to stay green, and are finding it is possible to stay green to the very end.
There is much that can be done to make a funeral green, even considering the many laws and regulations regarding burial. Green burials are feasible and gaining in popularity for several reasons:
- Green Burials Consume Fewer Resources: Burial vaults used at a number of funerals are not made on-site; they must be transported from the manufacturer. Concrete vaults used for typical burials can weigh as much as 2,700 pounds. Mixing the concrete, casting the vaults, and creating the linings and seals of vaults require the consumption of valuable resources. In addition, the amount of fuel consumed to transport a vault to the burial site must also be taken into account.
- Green Burials Can Save Money: Another big benefit of going green is saving money. Lowering the costs of funeral prices is particularly appealing to those who are interested in pre-planning, but they can also help family members lighten the financial burden during an especially difficult time. Green burials can save a family as much as $4,000 to $7,000.
- Green Burials Reduce the Use of Carcinogenic Chemicals: Traditional burial practices include embalming. However, most embalming fluids contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. While some embalming fluids are now being made without the use of potentially dangerous chemicals, it is possible to go a step further and provide for proper preservation and sanitation without the use of any harmful chemicals. Funeral directors—who were found to have a much higher incidence of myeloid leukemia—are likely to benefit the most from the elimination of embalming chemicals.
- Green Burials Conserve Land: Today’s cemeteries take up many acres of land. That land is typically stripped of trees and natural vegetation adversely impacting the local and global environment. Upkeep of cemetery grounds requires the use of chemicals for weed control and fertilizers which can contaminate the ground and water sources.
- Green Burials Preserve Wildlife: When the trees go, so do the animals that inhabit them. Even the slightest shifts in the balance of an ecosystem can have negative and long-lasting effects on the environment. By contrast, green burials follow a strict set of practices that ensure burials do not harm ecosystems, but facilitate their restoration.
For these reasons and more, green burials are making it possible to honor the dead without further impacting our natural resources, producing unnecessary carbon emissions, or harming workers at any stage of the funeral process.