How to Have a Greener Funeral

Eco-funerals are currently a hot topic among the environmentally aware in society. Opting for a greener send-off to the next life doesn't mean cheap and nasty; the arrangements can be just as respectful to the deceased as a traditional funeral.

Here are some ideas to help you plan a greener final journey.

Biodegradable coffins

These days, people are much more aware of the impact of unregulated or illegal logging, and the devastating effect it can have on what remains of the earth's rainforests. Consequently, biodegradable coffins and caskets are in great demand.

This has spawned a whole new industry and you now have a wide range of burial furniture to choose from. How about a coffin made from cardboard or wicker, bamboo, straw or banana leaves? Believe it or not, you could even be laid to rest in a coffin fabricated entirely from wool.

If you prefer the idea of a more traditional-looking coffin but without using wood taken from rainforest trees, look no further than the new sustainable versions made from FSC certified wood and 80% waste wood product. Even the coffin lining is made from natural cotton fibre.

Floral tributes

Whilst floral tributes certainly look beautiful atop a coffin en route to the crematorium or church, cut flowers are environmentally very expensive. Often the blooms are 'forced' in artificially heated hothouses before being transported hundreds of miles to retail outlets which leaves a huge carbon footprint. 

Instead of flowers why not opt for a living tree to be planted in your memory? Choose a variety that is in decline as a way of helping the world to regenerate in the future. Alternatively, request that mourners make a donation to an eco-charity of your choice.

Sustainable cremation

Whilst it's true to say that being cremated is not the most sustainable exit option, you can opt to have your ashes made into something of benefit to the planet. How about having your cremated remains transformed into an artificial coral reef? Natural reefs around the world are under threat from the effects of global warming and human-inflicted damage. Artificial reefs provide a habitat for marine life that would otherwise be lost.


Another popular option is to have your ashes placed inside a fully biodegradable urn. A tree seed is placed within the ashes and the whole thing is buried. The seed germinates and begins to grow, the urn decomposes providing fertiliser for the tree, and everything eventually returns to the earth from whence it came.

If you're concerned for the environment and would like to leave the planet a little greener for your grandchildren, you may want to opt for an eco-funeral. Have an informal chat with local funeral services to discuss what arrangements they could make for you, and to find out what green or woodland burial sites are available in your area.