A Greener Departure

In our eco-minded society, we are increasingly seeing those who have lived a ‘green’ life seeking an environmentally ethical funeral.  An ‘eco-send-off’ doesn’t mean cheap or disrespectful and the topic of an ethical burial is no longer taboo. With that in mind, here are a few tips for planning a greener journey to the next life.

Sustainable Cremation

Although cremation is not the most sustainable way to go, you can still ensure that your ashes are transformed into something that will benefit the environment.  A company called Eternal Reefs specializes in forming cremated remains into artificial coral reefs which are used as habitat for marine life.  This is a welcomed idea at a time when natural reefs are threatened by the effects of global warming.

Bio-degradable Urns

Bios Urn has created a completely biodegradable urn which hosts a tree seed.  The urn is buried with your ashes and the tree begins to grow.  As it does, the urn decomposes and the whole thing eventually returns to the earth with your ashes providing fertilizer for the tree.

Bio-degradable Coffins

There is a huge demand for bio-degradable coffins which has prompted the development of a remarkable range of alternatives to traditional wood.  Wicker and cardboard coffins are popular along with coffins made of bamboo, compressed straw, banana leaf, or even wool.

For those who prefer the more traditional wooden coffin, there’s no longer the need to opt for caskets made from slow-growing rainforest trees.  Sustainable coffins like the Reflections coffin are made from 80% waste wood product and FSC certified wood, complete with a natural cotton lining.


It’s traditional to send floral tributes to accompany the departed.  Whilst this is a thoughtful gesture, cut flowers are environmentally expensive.  The best option is to ask for donations to a suitable eco-friendly charity of your choice instead or perhaps request a tree to be planted in your honor that will live on.


A great way of keeping the carbon footprint at a funeral to a minimum is to request guests to share rides.  This can also help to unite people at a difficult time as they could share happy memories of the departed during the journey to the final send-off. 

If some people have a long way to travel, ask them to opt for the train rather than a plane. Not only can it be cheaper but is also a much more environmentally-friendly way to travel.

In Conclusion

Green funerals and woodland burials are becoming increasingly popular and with a little forethought and preparation it’s possible to have an eco-friendly departure from this world, leaving the planet just a little bit greener as you do so.


Image credit:  Flickr Commons

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies.

Alison Page

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