You may have never heard of ‘natural coffins’ or a ‘green funeral’ until today. These terms refer to an eco-friendly way of caring for the dead through the use of biodegradable materials. Green funerals usually do not involve cremation, embalming or the use of any metal or concrete and traditional hardwood coffins are replaced by natural coffins made of sustainable materials.
As society becomes more environmentally aware more and more people are choosing to make changes to their day to day lives in an effort to become more eco-friendly. Making small changes such as choosing locally sourced products, buying a bag for life or unplugging electronic devices can have a dramatic effect on the environment and will contribute to creating a better planet for future generations. The list of ways we can minimise waste and reduce our carbon footprint during our time on earth seems endless. So if we’re going to concern ourselves with making eco-friendly decisions during our time on earth why would we choose to stop caring about the planet after we’ve passed on?
You may not be aware of the impact the traditional funeral may have on the environment. In recent years cremation has become a more popular alternative but it actually releases large amounts of pollutants such as dioxin and mercury into the atmosphere. If more people opt for natural, biodegradable coffins or a green funeral we can hope to reduce the millions of acres of forest that are destroyed and the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere every year.
Eco-friendly, green burials are becoming more and more common as more people become aware of not only the environmental benefits, but the financial ones too. Natural funerals conserve land, reduce the use of chemicals and protect wildlife. They also require fewer resources and therefore lighten the financial burden many families are left to face after the loss of a loved one.
Although natural burials are a cheaper option they are by no means a less respectful or meaningful way to honour the memory of a lost friend or family member. Beautiful, handcrafted, natural coffins used in green burials can be made from bamboo, willow, cane or many other materials which will eventually break down and become part of the soil, making them a thoughtful choice for an environmentally conscious loved one who would have liked the idea of completing the circle of life and becoming one with the earth.