The rise of the ecological/green funeral
11 January 2015
Green funerals are rising in popularity as people think more and more about their footprint on the world and the effects a traditional burial or cremation can have on the environment.
Green funerals usually involve a natural burial which allows the body to recycle naturally without the use of chemical preservatives. Usually, a biodegradable coffin or even a simple shroud is used in the place of a traditional, wooden coffin. And often, instead of headstones or plaques the grave is memorialized with a tree, flowers or shrubs.
The Association of Natural Burial Grounds was founded in 1994 and they help to establish sites where natural burials take place as well as providing guidance to those who run such sites. There are now 300 dedicated natural burial sites in the UK. It was in fact the UK that pioneered this green way of performing funerals.
The rise in popularity of green funerals has been mainly due to the baby boomer generation heading in to retirement. Many people like the idea of returning to the earth and not leaving a carbon footprint. There are as well the financial benefits; green funerals are often more simple and therefore less expensive than traditional burials.
Many natural burial grounds have sustainable plans for when they reach capacity - some hope to pass the land to wildlife charities or similar organisations. Other ideas are to use the grounds for agricultural use or to keep a sustainable woodland through the plantation of memorial trees.