Green Funerals May You R.I.P. Pollution Free!

by Nellie J

Green funeral anyone? I never really give much thought to the way I would like to be disposed of when I die, but apparently quite a few people are starting to think  about the after life of pollution that disposing of a human body can cause.

I always thought that maybe a good old fashion funeral pyre made out of branches in a nice location by the seaside could be pleasant… But that is illegal in most countries.

When you think about it, the current worlds population is 7 billion. That’s a lot of dead bodies to cremate or bury in the future.  The environmental impact of all that embalming fluid and gas used to turn a body into ash must have some long term affects upon the planet?

One group of people in Wichita (located in the U.S.) have come up with some pretty green alternatives.

Another alternative casket...

Catholic Diocese of Wichita will open the area’s first natural burial area. There are no caskets, no vaults, and no headstones”

“We are born into this world, naturally, and it’s important to believe we leave naturally,” says green cemetery supporter Linda Shinogle.

Linda has been thinking about her burial since she was young.

Linda says, “You are not using a casket, a pine box, or even a favorite blanket, so the plans are different than the traditional burial. I have done it; I have signed the check. It’s not something I’m considering, it’s done.”

She was one of the first in line to buy a plot at Ascension Cemetery when it decided to make part of it “green.”

The area just north of the current cemetery will be the site of natural burials. Director of the Catholic cemeteries Jim Sheldon is working on the plan.

“The idea is that we’ll have natural gamma grasses, little blue stem, tall to have area like it used to be like the Kansas prairie,” says Sheldon.

He says a natural burial area will not only save money for the families who are burying loved ones, but it will save the environment, according to the Casket and Funeral Association of America.

Every year, 827,000 gallons of embalming fluid – dangerous chemicals – along with tons of steel, copper, and bronze are buried in the ground, causing potential environmental dangers.


Another interesting discovery I came across while researching this article was recycled cardboard caskets. According to the latest statistics, the demand for these biodegradable coffins has sky rocketed over the past decade. It seems that people are not only concerned about the cost of a traditional pine box, but are actually worried about the environmental impact they will have once they are no longer with us.

What ever choice you make or indeed your friends or family decide, having a green funeral could be a nice final statement as you leave the planet and head to… Well who knows?

What are your thoughts on green funerals?

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