One of the smartest things business owners can do today is look for ways to incorporate green practices in every possible aspect of operations. It can save businesses money when it comes to operating costs, but it can also help attract a growing number of potential clients who are insisting that the companies they patronize go green. Funeral homes are no exception, and funeral trade publications like Funeral Business Advisor are urging funeral homes to make green funerals a part of their business. The simple fact is that green living is not a trend or a fad; it is here to stay.
Going green is often as easy as assessing what changes can be made to daily practices and learning to think outside the box. A number of green funeral products are available, and consumers who want to reduce their end-of-life environmental impact will be on the lookout for these products.
Green Caskets and Coffins
Modern caskets have changed a lot since the days of plain, simple wood boxes. They are made with a number of materials that are unsustainable, unsound for the environment, and un-recyclable. The casket-making industry currently uses thousands of tons of steel, copper and other metals to make burial products. These metals must be mined from the earth, and they are non-renewable.
An alternative to these caskets are eco-friendly models manufactured from sustainable products like heavy cardboard and responsibly-grown seagrass, willow, bamboo, and pine. These caskets and coffins are biodegradable alternatives that will break down naturally in soil.
Green Burial Shrouds
In some cases, the need for a casket can be removed altogether. The burial shroud has been part of a number of religious burial traditions for centuries. A shroud is made of natural cloth, and it is wrapped around the deceased following preparation for interment. Usually, the shrouded body is buried in the grave without the need for a casket. This burial practice consumes very few materials.
Standard cremation urns are not biodegradable, and in some cases cemeteries require an additional outer container when burying cremains. An alternative is to use biodegradable urns that decompose under natural conditions. There are also dissolvable urns that are designed to be an environmentally-friendly method for water burial.
Green Embalming Products
Traditionally embalming products have been made with a number of chemicals including formaldehyde. While formaldehyde is known for its preservative qualities, it is also known to be a carcinogen. Environmentalists are opposed to its use in embalming. Other embalming fluids are available now that are greener, but many say the greenest option is to skip embalming altogether.