I was reviewing my will the other day and even though my body is being donated (FREE) to UCSD and I have requested no funeral (saving money, if I have any left!) got to thinking about funerals and the effect on the environment. Little did I know, there is such a thing as ‘Green Burials’.
What is a Green Burial?- Also known as a Natural Burial supports the earth’s ecosystem. No toxic chemicals (such as embalming fluids) are use. No concrete is used. Caskets (if used) are biodegradable and buried shallowly so it nourishes plant growth as it decomposes. Grave markers are native stones or plants.
I Just Gotta Tell Ya:
- Average cost of a Funeral (2004) was $6,500
- Average cost for a cemetery play ($500- $5,000
- Green Burials can run 1/2 the cost of a traditional funeral.
- 30-million board feet (70,000 m³) of hardwoods – much of this sourced from rainforests;
- 104,272 tons of steel (90,272 for caskets and 14,000 for vaults);
- 2,700-tons of copper and bronze; and
- 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete.
- 827,000 gallons (3,100 cubic meters) of embalming fluid (primarily formaldehyde – a highly toxic substance) are used to prepare bodies for burial and additional binders, glues, stains, varnishes, and fabrics are used to produce and finish caskets. Many of these materials have an adverse impact on the environment, leaching dangerous chemicals into watersheds.
In some cases like Ramsey Creek Preserve, for instance, 10 percent of the burial cost goes into a restoration fund for the nature preserve and 5 percent goes into a fund that does watershed protection and restoration of a historical church on the grounds.
- Eternal Reefs- offers underwater burial at sea in artificial reefs. They mix remains with concrete to build artificial reefs providing an environmentally memorial for families
- Green Burial.org- Site that offers much information on burials and has listing of ‘Green Burial’ locations.
- Green Burial Council– Developed a certification programs with ‘approved providers’ who are committed to reducing toxins, waste and carbon emissions. ‘Approved’ Green Burial Providers are listed on the site.
- Natural Burial in the USA – Also lists Natural Burials in Canada, UK, Europe, Asia and Africa
- Funeral Consumers Alliance – Non Profit dedicated to protecting the a consumers right to choose a affordable funeral.
- Memorial Green Burials
- Green Burial Pittsburgh