ENVIRONMENTAL concerns are on many people’s mind and that has led to a growing trend for sustainable and green funerals.
There are many ways we can reduce our impact on the environment, such as green burials, eco-friendly urns and caskets for cremation and options which are waste free.
Some of these options for going green, even after death, can be as simple as sending digital invites to a funeral or memorial. Nowadays, with email and social media as options, there is no need for paper to be involved. This will save trees and lower funeral expenses.
Encourage others to be more environmentally friendly too by not printing the details.
At the funeral or memorial service, if you’re having a programme, you could include it in the same email or social media publication, or you could have a QR code made with the details which attendees can scan with their smartphone to access the details. For those who may not have access to a smartphone or not understand the technology, you can project the programme during the service.
There is also a growing tendency to avoid formaldehyde to preserve the body, such as dry ice, and products which are formaldehyde‐free and use other green alternatives such as iodine.
If you are thinking of giving token gifts to the attendees of the funeral and environmental issues are on your mind, then why not give the guests something which can have a green positive effect on nature, this could be saplings or seed packets, and there are more novel options, such as blooming remembrance cards and plantable thank you cards, which are recycled paper cards which contain seeds. They can be put into the ground, the card will decompose and the seeds will grow. Another beautiful and eco‐friendly option is biodegradable confetti: it is natural and dye free, and can also be made from real, dry‐frozen petals or from other materials such as rice paper. This confetti is water‐soluble and non‐toxic.
Better‐known and increasingly popular green products for environmentally friendly funerals are biodegradable cremation urns or caskets which naturally become one with nature over a short space of time.
When marking the passing of a loved one in the funeral, if you are holding a celebration of their life, you may be thinking of offering food. This is another area where you can keep things green. Choose organic foods produced in healthier ecosystems where the land, water and air are protected. It’s not only about the food. There are also organic beverages, including wine, sparkling wines and beers. Where possible, shop locally and buy seasonal products which haven’t travelled for miles to get to you. It will be tastier and fresher and there will not have been so much energy used in storing and transporting it. Local products will often come with less packing, or will have minimal packaging.
When shopping for food, if you need to look further afield, also choose Fair Trade, this ensures that those who harvest and handle the goods have been ensured a proper wage and working conditions. Don’t overdo the amount of food so that there will not be so much wasted, and try to choose green options which won’t spoil so quickly. If there are any leftovers, hopefully you can compost them or make sure that you dispose of them appropriately.
As well as providing green plantable gifts for those attending the funeral, another very popular option is to plant a tree for a loved one, if possible, plant it in a significant place where it can also be visited and tended to.