Advice Funeral Planning What is a Green Burial and Would You Want One?

What is a Green Burial and Would You Want One?

As we take steps to reduce the environmental impact in all aspects of our lives, trends towards green funerals and eco burials have grown in number and popularity. From eco coffins to natural burial grounds there are loads of ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your funeral. Check out some of them here.

What is a green burial?

A green burial, or eco funeral is more environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional burial, whether that’s due to the type of coffin or the burial.

What ways can you create a green funeral?

Forgoing embalming

This allows you to have a more natural burial ground.

Did you know it takes between 3 and 4 gallons of chemicals to preserve the average body?

Although there are options for natural alternatives to embalming available.

Choosing biodegradable coffins or shrouds

Avoiding materials such as concrete, varnished wood or metals allow you to have an eco burial. Alternatives include cardboard, wicker baskets coffins or cotton shrouds cloth your body.

Did you know that a body in a cotton shroud will decompose within 4-6 weeks.

Choosing a Natural Burial Ground

What is a natural burial ground?

A natural burial ground, sometimes referred to as a green burial ground or a woodland burial ground is when your body is buried in a woodland or meadow. Usually these locations also require you to choose biodegradable coffins or shrouds.

A tree sapling is often planted on top and left to grow, helping offset the carbon footprint of your funeral. The land is managed under strict ecological principles, allowing the cycle of life to be completed and increasing woodland or meadow coverage.

Green funeral sites commit to preserving the land as woodland or a meadow and they often follow sustainable forestry practices such as coppicing.

In the UK there are nearly 270 Natural Burial Grounds registered with the Association of National Burial Grounds.

Composting, Above Ground

Did you know that this process takes 30 days and prevents 1.4 tonnes of carbon from being released into the air compared with cremation. The remains can then be scattered on plants or a tree.

Sadly, it's not yet currently widely available in the UK.

Mushroom suit burial

Did you know that this mushroom suit is made of organic cotton and embedded with cultivated mushrooms?

It's an idea being piloted in California, USA. Fungi fans might have seen this mentioned in the Netflix Documentary, Fantastic Fungi.

It's not currently widely available in the UK.

Sky burials

Did you know that the body is placed on a mountain top and allowed to decompose naturally in the elements.

It is a traditional practice in Tibet.

But it's not currently legal in the UK.

Where does the idea of green burials come from?

The idea of a green burial isn’t new - it borrows from the funeral traditions of many religions and cultures and is a response to the increasingly expensive and complex funeral practices of Western cultures.

How expensive are green burials?

Green burials are generally cheaper than more traditional funeral practices.

Are green burials better?

Green burials offer us a chance to bring our environmental values into our life as well as our death. What you want to happen to your body when you die is your choice.

Just make sure you share your wishes with the people you love. You can put a plan in place for the people you love to most here - all for free. Get started here.