Ecological or ‘green’ funerals are similar to woodland burials, but they can be even more environmentally focused if you wish. For example, the material used to make the coffin can be biodegradable – bamboo or cardboard are the typical choices, but woven coffins using materials such as wicker, banana leaf and water hyacinth are also available.
Embalming is usually not carried out for green funerals, however you can now opt for chemical free embalming fluids which have a lesser impact on the environment. You may also choose to use fewer vehicles to cut down on fuel and emissions. While memorials and headstones are usually not permitted in woodland burial sites, family and friends may wish to plant a memorial tree to mark the grave. This can be arranged through your funeral director.
The definition of a 'green' funeral is broad and will mean something different for everyone. For example, you may want to incorporate some 'green' elements into a typical cremation funeral, or choose a woodland burial with no markers or headstones.
As with woodland burials, the funeral can include cremation and the ashes can be interred in a biodegradable container. Some crematoriums offer reduced prices to cremate environmentally friendly coffins as they tend to use less energy and produce fewer emissions than wooden coffins. Although green funerals can be simpler than more traditional funerals, they are no less dignified. Some people feel that the simplicity enhances the occasion.
For more information about green funerals, or to discuss how you can include some 'green' elements in your pre-paid funeral plan, please speak to your local funeral director. With experience and knowledge of your local area, your funeral director is best placed to advise you of the options available.