The passing of loved ones is never easy. Along with the loss of those closest to us, the process of making final arrangements can leave family and friends feeling distraught and overwhelmed by the options. In recent years, more and more people have started to explore various types of green burials.
What are Green Burials?
The modern funeral industry is a billion dollar business. However, this has certainly not always been the case. Burial practices as we know them today first began to take shape during the Civil War. As soldiers were killed in battle, the need for preservation of the bodies was required in order to be shipped home for burial. Over time, the preservation of the body before burial became common societal practice.
Traditional burial methods can be both expensive and costly to the environment. Between the use of carcinogenic chemicals and non-decomposing materials, modern burial raises concern for environmental minded individuals. Green burials once again put the focus on making the burial process as natural as possible. In doing so, the decomposition of the body occurs naturally and once again becomes part of the Earth.
This is the most important aspect of green burial alternatives – it must be natural: no embalming, no vault and only biodegradable materials can be used.
Earth-Friendly Burial Options
Types of green burials can vary, but most involve the use of biodegradable materials. This can range from the use of simple pine boxes, wicker baskets, or even fabric shrouds. Most common of these green burials are shallow dug graves that allow the body to recycle naturally, similar to composting.
Some people are exploring ideas that include the use of a biodegradable type pod or container that can be buried near a tree, or have one planted above, where the body would then nourish the tree. Cremains are sometimes used for this, added to biodegradable containers that are buried and then planted over with a tree.
The ashes of those choosing to be cremated could also be placed in urns made from recycled paper or natural fabric. They may even include flower seeds or other plants that grow from the planting area.
Anyone interested in these end-of-life choices can receive more information about earth-friendly burial options by contacting a local funeral professional in their area.
While the benefits to natural burials are numerous, there is still a negative stigma attached to their use. Many believe that green burial alternatives are unable to fully pay tribute to the loved ones lost.
Choosing burial proceedings is truly one of the most personal decisions that can be made. Learning more about the impact of these choices can help us make better informed decisions regarding our imprint on the planet.
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