Death is a part of life and so are funeral services. But did you know how much damage we do to the earth even after we have stopped living? Did you know that 60 million trees are axed every year to build coffins? Gases released during cremation account for 16 percent of the mercury emissions in U.K. Construction of vaults for burials lead to the introduction of about 1.6 million tons of concrete in the soil. The number of people who die each year is about 56 million now and this figure is expected to increase twofold by 2040, so things will only get worse.

We don’t really stop to think of the materials that are used to manufacture items like caskets that are used in traditional funeral services. According to recent research, the quantity of metal used to make the caskets used in North America is equal to the amount of metal used to manufacture the Golden Gate Bridge. Some funeral service rituals sometimes require embalming. Since these embalming fluids are supposed to retard the process of decomposition of the body by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, they also inhibit the growth of bacteria and other important enzymes in the soil.

To prevent all this damage to the environment, we can now choose to opt for greener funeral services.

Green burial tips

One way of ensuring that a funeral is environmentally friendly is to use a biodegradable casket. If you use a coffin made of used paper, buried in a place where there are trees and shrubs, the body will slowly become a part of the environment.

Another method is to cremate the body before it needs to be embalmed. If the body is embalmed, cremating it leads to air pollution because of the toxic gases released during the cremation.

Headstones also lead to pollution because they obstruct the growth of trees. Thus you may choose to have a living memorial for yourself or your loved one in the form of a tree. If this becomes a practice then it will be easier for the survivors of the decedent to cope with the loss because they will have a living substitute for the person who is no more and also lead to the planting of millions of trees. There are more than two hundred environment-friendly burial sites in England, so you can choose the one that is close to your home.

Another novel environment-friendly option is to get your ashes mixed with reef material. This material is then placed in an ocean. Eventually it becomes a new reef. This promotes the growth of organisms that grow on reefs and restores the ecological balance of the planet.

With so many options, it is now much easier to plan a funeral service and burial that will not harm the environment.