Being eco-friendly was once scoffed at as a penchant of “tree huggers,” but now it seems everyone drives a Prius and composts – and for good reason. More people than ever are learning and caring about their environmental impact.
Perhaps you or your deceased loved one has lived an environmentally friendly life, and you want to make sure that the end-of-life service follows suit. Here are some things to consider when planning a green cremation.
Cremation vs. Burial
Cremation has long been touted as an eco-friendly alternative to burial, as burial requires physical space in the earth, caskets, and other burial accouterments, and burial machinery or equipment. However, cremation requires some amount of energy. Emissions are low, and new practices with regards to filtering have caused them to be even lower.
Newly developed technology has made a “water cremation” possible. Using water, an alkali solution, and heat to cremate the body, these machines help to reduce the carbon footprint of crematories. The technology is available in some areas, but is not yet widely available. Some predict a widespread use of the technology in the future.
Biodegradable or Eco-friendly Urns
Even if you don’t have access to the newest cremation technology, you can have a relatively eco-conscious cremation. In lieu of a burial, opt for returning the remains to a biodegradable urn, or using the ashes to make a functional object, such as furniture, or art pieces for your home. There are many products on the market that allow you to transform ashes into a keepsake or meaningful object.
Scattering ashes is another way to reduce the environmental impact following cremation. Scattering ashes in a garden ensures that they will be put to good use, nurturing plants and contributing to the cycle of life. You can also opt for a scattering or burial at sea. Follow EPA guidelines regarding burials at sea. Family members can take a memorial trip to the location of the ashes to celebrate their loved one.
Although a 100% green cremation can’t be guaranteed, there are steps you can take to minimize harm to the environment. Ask what options are available in terms of eco-friendly cremations and urns.