Eco Friendly and Green Funerals
Planning for the funeral of a loved one or even for your own has now taken on a new dimension in this new age of environmental awareness and activism. Following are some options you can consider during this process.
One way to support an eco-friendly burial process is to insist that the body not be embalmed. Embalming fluid is usually a mixture of chemicals such as formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents. The purpose of course is to prevent the body from decomposing until burial.
Formaldehyde and other chemicals used are harmful substances for the living. The International Agency for Research on Cancer reported in 1995 that formaldehyde probably causes cancer in humans.
Choosing a casket is another area where you can go green. One of the more eco-friendly varieties is the old-fashioned plain pine box. These boxes usually contain no metal parts and the fabrics used on the inside can be made from undyed, unbleached cotton and cellulose materials.
Eco-coffins can also be finished in natural walnut oil or beeswax instead of the traditional chemical laced products such as lacquer, varnish, urethanes and varathanes. These products release harmful emissions when buried or burned during a cremation.
Eco-friendly caskets made in this way should degrade within 60 years, if the casket is not placed in a concrete vault.
There are also natural burials available in some areas in the United States and the UK. In these kinds of burials the bodies are not embalmed and they are buried in either a simple casket as described above OR a shroud in a protected green space. Headstones are not permitted, but flat indigenous stones can be engraved and used to mark the final resting place.
Here’s a list you can keep for reference when planning an eco-friendly funeral:
· Insist on the body not being embalmed.
· Consider getting permission for organ donation before death so that someone else may have a life extended.
· In cases of a burial, request that the casket not be placed into a concrete vault.
· For a casket, choose a simple box made from local sustainable wood or cardboard.
· For cremation, if you or the deceased has false teeth plan for them to be removed to avoid the release into the atmosphere of mercury from fillings.
· In lieu of flowers, ask that donations be made to a land conservation organization.
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