What Is a Green Funeral and Should You Have One?

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You care about the environment. Maybe you recycle, use solar power, and have cut out single-use plastics. You’re doing everything you can be a good steward of the environment. But what happens when you die?

Funerals are notoriously bad for the environment, from the use of embalming fluids to the loss of natural landscapes when land is cleared for cemeteries. But green funerals can help you continue to care for the environment even after you pass. Let’s explore what they are and why you might want to consider one.

What Is a Green Funeral?

There’s no single definition of what makes a funeral “green.” It’s a term that simply means an environmentally friendly funeral or burial. For example, a green funeral might involve skipping embalming and being buried in a simple biodegradable casket, allowing your body to return to the earth through natural decomposition.

Another type of green funeral would be internment in a “natural cemetery.” Rather than a traditionally cleared patch of land, you would be buried in a more natural landscape such as a wooded cemetery. This causes minimal harm to the natural environment and the wildlife that rely on it.

Those are just a couple of examples. Green burials might also involve choosing a burial shroud instead of a coffin or working with a funeral home that uses biodegradable products and more sustainable practices. The level of going “green” is up to you.

Benefits of Green Funerals

There are several benefits to green funerals that you might want to consider, such as:

  • They help minimize your death’s impact on the environment.
  • They don’t always require the destruction of natural habitats.
  • They don’t require the burial of metals (or at least not as much) used in traditional caskets.
  • Little to no chemicals end up in water supplies or in the land.
  • Green burials can be more affordable for loved ones left behind.

In the end, options like natural burials also give you more control over what happens to you and your relationship to the world around you when you pass.

Is a Green Funeral Right for You?

Funeral planning is a very personal thing. And your local regulations might impact what options are available to you. But that’s the most important takeaway—you do have options. From having your ashes scattered to planning a more natural burial, end of life choices can be just as environmentally conscious as any other you’ve made in your life.

If you decide a green funeral is right for you, make sure you discuss those plans with your family or other loved ones. Help them understand why you might be deviating from traditions that are important to them. Discuss the costs and potential savings a green burial can provide them. And explain how they can best honor you after your passing by working with a green funeral home or other service providers.

The choice is always yours. But including family in your decision to have a green funeral can make it a more meaningful event for everyone involved.