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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Inman

Why Choose Eco-Friendly Final Arrangements

What is it? Eco-friendly final arrangements, sometimes called “green burial,” “greener death,” “natural burial,” and “eco-friendly disposition,” all seek to minimize your footprint in order to preserve our precious natural world.

Why do it? Why might you be motivated to look into making eco-friendly final arrangements? It might be any of the reasons below, a combination of them, or something entirely different. No matter your motivation, the Earth will appreciate it. Here are some possible answers:

  • Simplicity - Minimal fuss or adornment may appeal to you. If you like things simple, natural, and unpretentious, consider greener options.

  • Budget-Friendliness - Although green burial can cost as much or more than traditional burial, it doesn’t have to. Avoiding embalming, fancy caskets, or other quasi-permanent construction can lower costs.

  • A Conservation Mindset - The manufacturing of traditional caskets uses lots of hardwood and metal (e.g. steel and/or copper). The construction of vaults consumes lots of concrete reinforced with steel. Greener arrangements use fewer resources.

  • A Love of Nature - Do you have a preservation mindset? Do you love wildflower meadows or peaceful forests? A green burial site populated by native plants can provide a wonderful natural landscape for wild birds and other wildlife. In this way, land can be acquired and restored and/or preserved.

Fewer Chemicals - The process of embalming a body uses hazardous chemicals (e.g. formaldehyde) including known carcinogens, thus exposing funeral home workers. Unlike traditional cemeteries, green ones may avoid the use of fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides - check with your cemetery of choice to find out their policies.

What are some examples? Here’s a short list of some examples:

  • Using a simple, natural wood or woven (e.g. wicker) casket

  • Using a burial shroud instead of a casket

  • Using a paper (i.e. cardboard) casket

  • Using a seed urn (the remains nourish a baby plant)

  • Using a paper urn (e.g. one made of unbleached, recycled paper)

  • Using a water urn, also called a floating urn, which is designed to dissolve in water

If I want this, what do I do next? You should include your wishes as part of your estate plan. This will spare your loved ones the hardship of trying to guess what you would’ve wanted. Do your research so you know what options are readily available in your area.

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