One of the downsides of a traditional burial is that they can have an adverse effect on the environment, so some people have decided to have a green funeral instead for their memorial service. A green funeral allows for natural decomposition, so everything used during the burial will eventually return to the soil and become incorporated with it. In addition to limiting environmental impact, green funerals are also typically much less expensive than a traditional burial. If you're planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one, read on to learn more about green funerals and their advantages and disadvantages compared to a traditional funeral.
What Is a Green Funeral Service?
A green funeral service uses biodegradable materials for burial in order to avoid harming the environment. Instead of using a metal casket, a green funeral uses a casket or burial shroud made from a substance that will decompose once it has been buried, such as fabric, wicker or cardboard. Green funerals use a biodegradable or natural headstone as well, such as a stone or a wooden figurine.
The embalming process is also skipped during a green funeral, since embalming fluid contains very strong antibacterial chemicals that can harm soil bacteria if it leaks into the soil. The overall purpose of a green funeral is to bury the deceased in a way that everything decomposes and returns to the earth, leaving no trace behind.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Green Funeral?
In addition to being better for the environment, green funerals are significantly less expensive than traditional funerals. Embalming the deceased and purchasing a casket for them can be very costly, and a green funeral avoids both of these expenses. This makes a green funeral service a good option for people who are funeral planning on a budget and want a natural burial rather than cremation, as you can save a lot of money by choosing a green funeral along with preventing environmental damage from embalming fluid and a non-biodegradable casket.
Green funerals also have a strong natural appeal, since the burial sites used for them are typically located far away from urban areas and managed in a way that supports the local ecosystem. You're more likely to see native flora and fauna around the burial site compared to a traditional cemetery located in an urban or suburban area, which helps a green funeral feel like more of a natural process.
What Are the Downsides of Having a Green Funeral?
The primary downside of having a green funeral service is the lack of embalming. Embalming is used to prevent natural decomposition, as the embalming fluid protects the body from the bacteria that cause it. If you want a viewing at your funeral service, you'll need to host the service shortly after you pass away. This can make it difficult for friends and family who live in other states to attend, as they'll need to make travel arrangements immediately. If you want a memorial service to be held instead of a funeral with a viewing, however, then skipping the process of embalming won't affect your plans.
If you're working on funeral planning and are interested in a green funeral service, call local funeral homes and ask them if they have it as an option. Even if they don't specifically advertise the fact that they perform green funerals, most funeral homes will tailor your funeral to the way you wish to be memorialized, and that includes performing a green funeral. You'll pay less for your memorial service than you would choosing a traditional funeral, and you'll also limit damage to the environment. Look into funeral services near you.