You may not ever think of funeral services as being harmful to the environment, but in many ways they can be very damaging to the ground and the atmosphere. For those who are environmentally conscious, a few simple changes to funeral services can reduce this damage. Note some common aspects of funeral services, why they're harmful, and how to make those simple changes.
1. Opt for a simple, natural casket
A casket made of mahogany or cedar means harvesting these trees for its construction, and if it's then painted or stained and given a coat of sealant, these materials seep into the ground as the casket degrades. A simple, natural casket made of bamboo, which is easy to replenish, or woven grass can be a better choice, especially if it's unpainted and untreated.
2. Do without embalming fluids
Embalming fluids are used to preserve a person's body after death, usually so that it can be displayed for a funeral service. This fluid also seeps into the ground and contaminates it after a person is buried. Some persons go without these fluids for religious reasons, and you can request the same for yourself or someone else when planning a funeral.
3. Reduce the use of cars
There may be something very solemn about a long line of cars headed to a funeral or a gravesite, but consider how many emissions are created by all those vehicles. This is also usually in addition to the hearse and several limousines for the family members.
To make your funeral or the funeral for someone else more eco-friendly, cut back on the use of cars however you can. Provide a minivan for family rather than several limousines, and ask that people carpool if possible. You might also forego having both a church service and a graveside service, so that everyone only needs to drive to one location.
4. Plant trees rather than cutting flowers
You can actually make a funeral a time when you give back to the environment by having a tree planting ceremony rather than a standard graveside service, or ask that a tree be planted in the name of the deceased rather than sending flowers. This eliminates the need for harvesting flowers for the occasion. In addition to having a tree planted, you might also request that donations be made to a certain wildlife or conservation fund that will help to protect the environment.
For more information, contact a funeral home, such as Chapel of the Holy Family.