Are Green Burials the Way of the Future?

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“Going green” is no longer about the choices you make in your daily life—it’s also about the choices you make in your afterlife.

There is a growing interest among today’s environmentally conscious to seek out alternative methods for burial, that they believe will have less of an impact on the earth.

With yesterday being Earth Day, I figured now was as good of time as any to touch on the growing trend of green burials and the potential impact it has on the funeral profession.

What is a Green Burial?

As with everything else in the “green” movement, there are varying degrees of how “green” is “green”. The general rule for green burials is that there is no use of concrete, metal or chemicals used in the burial process.

This means bodies are not embalmed, and are either wrapped in a linen or cotton shroud, or are laid to rest in a container that is made of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, such as pine, wicker, cardboard, or bamboo.

A Growing Trend

A recent AARP poll found that over 20 percent of people age 50 and up said they would prefer an eco-friendly end-of-life ritual.

Unfortunately, we can’t know exactly what these baby boomers or older adults define as an “eco-friendly”, but we can at least determine that the term sparks an interest with them. And therefore, should spark an interest with you since more than 76 million baby boomers are expected to pass through the funeral profession in the next 20 years.

The modern push for natural burials began in the United Kingdom almost 20 years ago and has since spread across the globe. According to the Green Burial Council, there are more than 300 approved green burial providers in the United States, while only a dozen existed in 2008.

That’s more than a 2000% increase is just 4 years!

It’s likely you’re not even seeing 5% of your families opting for green burials today. However, to put things into perspective, there was a time less than 5% of your families were opting for cremations, and look how that’s grown.

Obviously, I can’t predict the future, but I do think you should be prepared for the possibility that a growing number of your families will be seeking out green burial services. Here are some common green burial practices to consider incorporating into your funeral firm:

Eco-Friendly Burial Practices

Use non-toxic embalming fluids: Non-toxic embalming fluids are made without formaldehyde and resolve most objections to ground contamination

Offer eco-friendly caskets: Natural coffins are made from biodegradable materials that are readily renewable or recycled, and created with greater sustainability in their production process

Provide natural burial grounds: A natural burial ground uses grave markers that don’t intrude on the natural landscape of the property, such as trees, flat rocks and shrubs. In a complete natural burial preserve, irrigation is not used, and pesticides and herbicides are not applied to the grounds.

Have you incorporated any “green” practices into your funeral firm? Please share your comments below! 🙂

Kelly Murad

funeralOne

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  1. Trends in Personalized Funeral Services (Pictures) | Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions.

    […] Green burials have become a growing end-of-life trend among the environmentally conscious. Many families are opting to bury their loved one in natural preserves, like the one pictured above, where only non-toxic and biodegradable materials are allowed. The service itself can be very intimate. Family and friends often serve as active participants in the ceremony by leaving personal messages on the biodegradable casket and assisting in the actual burial by lowering their loved one into the ground. […]

  2. Info@adieu.com.au

    Interesting as I’m currently looking into pricing recycled paper for my funeral booklets. As the world becomes greener and more conscious there is no reason why the funeral industry should be left behind. I hope that all funerals will be green sooner then later. Its a shame that greener can sometimes mean inflated prices.

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