Will the funeral industry go green?

04 September 2018

As social media helps to raise awareness of the environmental impact of funerals, the popularity of eco-friendly alternatives has exploded.

Will the funeral industry go green?

The funeral industry is often spoken of as eco-inefficient because of the environmental costs of cremations as well as funeral procession travel emissions and the affect of processes such as embalming. That said, most funeral directors now offer services which have a low impact on the eco-system. Here are some ways to make funerals more eco-friendly.

By far the most impactful part of a modern funeral on our environment is the cremation process. As you can imagine, cremators are heated to extreme temperatures and require significant amounts of fossil fuels; approximately 120 litres of petroleum is used for each  cremation.

On top of this, the paraphernalia surrounding the funeral process takes its toll on the environment. The production of solid wood coffins for example is not an environmentally friendly process. What’s more is that these hard-wood veneered coffins do not break down as quickly as other materials do.

Funeral directing firms across the country are seeking ways to give customers the chance to arrange a funeral service which has a lesser impact on the environment. Some ideas for inclusion in a 'green' funeral service are that:

  • It should not include a cremation 
  • The burial plot should not visibly impact the environment 
  • The burial should serve a purpose to nature 
  • The coffin or shroud should be made from natural biodegradable materials 
  • The burial site should not be marked or personalised.

In addition to the changes you can make to a traditional funeral service, there are a number of innovative ways to make your funeral even more eco-friendly. For example, you could request that a tree is planted above your eco-friendly burial plot. Some funeral directors can even help you to offset your funeral's carbon footprint. 

Learn more about green funerals here. Your local funeral director can also provide advice and guidance on ways you can make your own service more environmentally friendly in your area.