Death is never a topic anyone wants to discuss. And when it comes to planning for the death of a loved one, decisions are usually wrought with emotion, made with haste and filled with hope that the deceased will be happy with the outcome.
One thing that can make these difficult days and labored decisions slightly easier is to choose eco-friendly burial options, which also strive to keep Mother Nature happy. When one stops to consider the environmental resources that go into a traditional burial or cremation (each year, millions of pounds of metal, wood and concrete are used for burials and it takes as much fuel to power two SUV’s as it does to complete one cremation), going green, even during death, has a major impact on the environment and the worldwide community.
Embalming is one of the most harmful steps of interment. Embalming is the process by which a corpse is filled with fluid made up of toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde and rubbing alcohol. Once the body is placed in the ground, those chemicals later make their way into the earth. As an alternative to embalming, find a funeral home that follows a procedure that utilizes essential oils instead of harmful chemicals. This provides a non-toxic method of keeping bacteria at bay and stalling the decomposition process.
Traditional caskets take several lifetimes to decompose – it’s a much longer process than the decomposition of a human body. Of late, many people (either in pre-death arrangements or family members in their stead) are opting for coffins made of biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, seagrass and rattan. Others choose to forego the casket altogether and elect to be simply buried – wrapped in all-natural cotton clothing or other natural fiber materials.
For those who prefer cremation, there is a similar process called resomation, which decomposes a body at a very high speed, but doesn’t release chemicals into the atmosphere and uses substantially less energy.
Another very green, yet less traditional post-life process is to turn the corpse into compost. As insensitive as that may sound, the undertaking is rather scientific and the body is eventually returned to the earth, but in a way that contributes to the health of the land, rather than causing environmental harm.
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