The goal of a natural burial is to return the body to the earth in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition and allows the body to recycle naturally. It intended as an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices that may pose future hazards to public health and run counter to modern resource-conservation activities.
More people are now choosing to select a “Green Funeral” for their loved one, or themselves in advance. The reason for this differs from person to person. One person may decide upon it in order to minimise their impact on the earth, while another may simply like where their chosen green burial ground is situated. The reason for choosing a green burial will have an effect on the exact funeral arrangements but can generally follow the format of a traditional with the final committal taking place at the green burial ground rather that the cemetery or crematorium. Apart from the choice of burial location, the choice of coffin or casket is often the most important choice for people.
There are a wide range of ecologically friendly coffins available which include cardboard, wicker, bamboo and banana leaf, as well as solid and veneered coffins which are produced with wood from a certified sustainable source. All coffin fittings, linings and clothing for the deceased should be biodegradable when burial has been chosen.
If cremation has been chosen, the same principles apply as to burial, i.e. the coffin must be ecologically friendly and clothing and linings which give off the least harmful fumes should be chosen. Basically, natural fibres and materials should be used wherever possible. Of course, following the cremation, the ashes can be placed at a green burial ground if desired, either scattered, or placed in a suitable container and buried. Similarly the ashes can be taken away and scattered by the family virtually anywhere without causing any detrimental impact to the environment.
The majority of green funerals are burials for obvious reasons. Most take place at a ‘Green Burial Ground’ following a funeral service at church or a civil ceremony elsewhere, although a graveside service is an acceptable alternative, especially in the warmer months.
Although most burials take place at a green burial ground, any burial paying attention to the materials used should be classed as green. It is the impact on the earth that is the most important factor, not where the burial actually takes place.
It is worth noting that little in the way of memorialisation is permitted at a green burial grounds, a wooden marker or stake is about as much as is usually allowed, but a tree is usually planted which will become woodland eventually.
Our main supplier of environmentally friendly coffins is Ecoffins. Please head to their website for more information and to see the entire range available from them.
We can now offer pre-arranged green funerals in York. Please contact us to discuss the details on 01904 593096.
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