With the climate crisis ever-looming, more and more people are opting for an environmentally conscious funeral, especially after discovering the ecological costs of having a traditional funeral.
Conventional funerals can have a huge impact on the climate. A report from 2008 found that each burial creates about 39 kilograms of carbon dioxide, whereas cremations are even worse, with 160 kilograms of carbon dioxide emitted.
This is why people who were climate-conscious in life are willing to carry that on in regards to their death as well, hoping to leave as little of a negative impact on the planet as they can.
The AGFD Good Funeral Awards, which the Mirror regards as akin to the Oscars of funerals, aim to help bring natural eco-friendly funerals into the mainstream.
The Mirror spoke to the president of the AGFD, William Wainman, about the ways in which people are going green beyond the grave.
He said: “Believe it or not, car sharing at funerals has the biggest impact regarding reducing Co2 emissions at a funeral.
"Burial at a natural burial ground which does not need constant maintenance (lawn mowing and treatment produces Co2) is also a step in the green direction.
"Funeral directors are also moving over to electric vehicles now which we see as a positive step.”
William also explained the different ways of disposing of remains that are much better for the environment. These are:
Resomation – which is water cremation using alkaline hydrolysis that reduces the human remains to their bones, they are then pulverised to form the “ash” for disposal.
Cryomation – a fully automated process involves immersing a body in liquid nitrogen down to a temperature of -196 degrees at which point the water is removed and it becomes extremely brittle. This is cryolated into small particles allowing for the removal of any surgical implants and other foreign material.
Natural Burial – A natural burial attempts to return a body to the earth in as natural a way as possible. This involves a rejection of embalming processes, cremation and caskets or coffins made of chipboard or MDF which contain formaldehyde.
Coffins and caskets used for natural burial are generally made from woven natural materials such as bamboo or willow, or made of cardboard, and often takes place in green spaces, such as wildflower meadows, protected woodland and parkland.
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There are many aspects to a traditional funeral that we don’t realise are bad for the environment, such as the petrol and diesel from the vehicles that drive family and friends to the funeral, and the plastic, metals, and foam used in traditional floral tributes.
William also explains that the machinery used to dig graves in larger burial grounds are bad for the environment, as well as non-eco-friendly embalming fluids.
Things are looking up for natural funerals though, with a huge increase in the number of natural burial grounds from just two in the entire UK in the late 1990’s to well over 250 today.
The Good Funeral virtual awards will be on September 24 with several nomination categories including ‘coffin supplier of the year’ and ‘best crematorium of the year’, because after all, we want to go out in style.
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