As the effects of climate change on our planet become more obvious, people are looking for more eco-friendly alternatives in all aspects of life. It could be the car they drive, bringing their own bags to the grocery store, recycling, or even how they choose to be buried after they pass away. If you or a loved one would wish for a more eco-friendly burial, you can speak with your funeral home near College Park, MD, to find out more about your options there. Here are some ways that many people are making their final arrangements “greener”.
One of the biggest issues that traditional burial has when it comes to the environment is the harmful chemicals that it sometimes requires. For example, many people who are buried will undergo the embalming process, so that family and friends can say a final goodbye. This process of preservation uses some toxic substances, such as formaldehyde, that are able to enter the soil after burial. That’s why some families are choosing to skip the embalming process or use a more eco-friendly formula. While these don’t last as long, they may still allow immediate family members to have their final goodbye.
Another source of harmful chemicals is the caskets themselves. Many caskets are made from hardwood, which is a valuable material in itself, but they are also often treated with substances that prevent deterioration. These substances will keep the casket intact much longer underground, but they are also very toxic to the soil. By choosing an untreated and sustainably-harvested wooden casket, you can avoid putting these chemicals into the ground. Alternatively, you can opt for a biodegradable sustainable material like cotton, hemp, bamboo, or silk.
Beyond these things, there are even more ways to make a burial “greener”. These will not be options at every cemetery, but there are some that will be more accommodating. For instance, rather than having a headstone or traditional grave marker, some families choose to plant a tree or a special shrub as a natural grave marker for their loved ones. Perennial flowers and rocks are other options. This can be a beautiful, living memorial to them. Some places will not use a concrete vault for burial, which creates less of an impact on the earth and also avoids the high-energy use required to manufacture the vaults themselves. If the cemetery requires a vault to avoid the land sinking over time, find out if it can be placed in such a way that the casket can be exposed to the soil and able to naturally return to the earth.
These are some of the most common and feasible ways to have a “greener” burial. Many people have made the choice to take more responsibility for their personal impact on the planet, and having a more eco-friendly burial is just one way to reach that goal. Your funeral home near College Park, MD, can help you find ways to have a greener burial that will work with your circumstances. Then, you can take comfort in knowing that your or your loved one’s impact on the planet will be as beneficial as possible.