An eco-friendly funeral can be particularly fitting for those who loved the great outdoors or were passionate about looking after the environment.
Funerals come in all different shapes and sizes now, and many people choose a funeral type that fits with the deceased’s passions or lifestyle as a tribute to their life and memory.
One type of funeral that is gaining in popularity is the eco-friendly funeral. Green funerals incorporate natural processes, eco-friendly arrangements and sustainable materials into the service.
Here are a few of our favourite ideas for giving your loved one an environmentally-friendly send-off.
- Choose burial over cremation – Cremating a body releases around 400kg of CO2 into the air, the same as a 500 mile car journey.
- Choose a coffin made from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials – Eco-friendly coffin materials include those made from cardboard, rattan, bamboo and willow.
- Have the body refrigerated not embalmed – Embalming a body requires the use of harmful chemicals, which can then seep into the ground and the environment when the body is buried.
- Reduce travel requirements – Hold the funeral somewhere close to home and suggest that those attending lift share to the service. Some people even choose to transport the body to the funeral themselves rather than hiring a hearse.
- Decline funeral flowers – Many woodland burial sites prefer to keep the area looking natural and free of memorial flowers and urns. Cut funeral flowers come at a high environmental price so many people organising an eco-friendly funeral ask attendees to donate to an eco-friendly charity instead of buying flowers.
- Hold a meat-free wake – The meat industry has a hugely negative impact on the environment, so catering a meat-free wake is an excellent way to reduce the event’s environmental impact. This can be a particularly fitting tribute if the deceased was vegetarian or vegan.
The funeral industry is being put under the microscope due to the rising cost of even a basic funeral according to reports this month.
The cost of a funeral according to analysts has risen 3 times more than the rate of inflation in the last decade putting many families on low incomes under pressure to pay for all the aspects of laying loved ones to rest.
Sadly, there are cases where the deceased are held in mortuaries for months at a time while family members try to get enough money together to pay for a funeral. This leaves an unacceptable number of people in limbo at a time when grieving for a lost loved one is hard enough.
The average cost of a funeral in the UK is between £3000 and £5000 which is a substantial sum of money for someone on a low wage with little in the way of money put by.
Funeral directors have blamed local councils for increasing the cost while competition watchdogs are looking to see if lack of coemption in the industry is responsible for pushing up prices.
As with any other service, it is important to look around for the best price if possible, to ensure value for money and you are not paying more than you should be to give your loved on the send-off they deserve.
Death is an inevitability we all have to deal with and for those left behind it is always difficult to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. But in recent years we have seen funerals that celebrate the life of a person rather than make them a traditionally sombre occasion. So which approach is the right one?
Celebrating the life of a person at a funeral is not a new idea, in Ghana for example, the deceased have a special coffin made to celebrate a person’s interests or passions. Funerals are thus more light hearted than the traditional funerals we have here in the UK where people wear black and coffins are build to a standardised design.
The celebration funeral is perhaps a reaction to this type of funeral. Increasingly nowadays people want to express their individuality rather than end their days like everyone else with everyone surrounding a coffin dressed in black.
Then there are people who prefer the traditions such as TV presenter Colin Brazier, who asked for people to wear black at his wife’s funeral.
It is easy to empathise with both sides of the debate. Those with strong religious beliefs will naturally prefer that traditions are maintained and that fun funerals miss the point about the finality of death and the passage to the afterlife.