The rise of the ecologically conscious consumer has in part driven a vast array of options like electric cars, green energy, and other more eco-friendly products and services. It turns out you can use new innovation in funerals to make even your death more sustainable.
More people are opting for cremation as it’s more cost-effective than a traditional burial. Whilst cremation is often seen as a greener solution to burials since it doesn’t need a burial plot, cremations are nevertheless carbon-intensive.
When it comes to making your death truly ecologically sustainable, consumers have better options than cremation. What’s more, other aspects of one’s last farewell can also be arranged using greener solutions.
Increasing numbers of people are opting for new innovation in funerals with products and services beyond the traditional ones, and the Infinity Burial Suit just about wins the award for lightening that last ecological footprint.
For the greenest burial, consider returning your body to the cycle of life with tech startup Coeio’s burial suit. Made from organic cotton and mushroom spores, the suit is designed to help the deceased’s body break down more quickly and deliver nutrients to the surrounding soil and plants.
Similarly, you might be able to choose to have your remains turned into compost, depending on the laws in your area. According to Escape Waste zero-footprint activist Antonia, this process involves surrounding the body with wood chips, straw, and other compostable materials to encourage the body to decompose more quickly.
The resulting nutrient-rich soil is returned to the deceased’s family for use at their discretion. The composting option has a fraction of the carbon footprint of cremation, making it a truly ecologically friendly burial.
A tree burial
Alternatively, people can now choose to become feed for a tree where they rest. The Capsula Muni is an organic casket or biodegradable urn designed to allow buried bodies to break down in the soil and sustain a tree sapling buried above it.
Traditional cremation is space-efficient but typically releases a range of toxic pollutants into the atmosphere. An alternative is water cremation, which involves dissolving the body in a heated solution.
This liquefies the soft tissues but leaves the bones, which can be ground into ashes to be returned to the bereaved family. Water cremations are far less carbon-intensive than traditional cremations.
“Promession” isn’t yet widely available but could be in the future. This low-emissions, low-byproduct option involves freezing your body in liquid nitrogen before using ultrasonic vibrations to smash it into small pieces.
These fragments are then freeze-dried to remove water. Next, any foreign objects like mercury fillings are removed and the remains are shallowly buried in a biodegradable container. Within 12 months, the remains will have broken down into the soil and enriched the surrounding soil.
Those who love the ocean could “donate” their remains to help protect coral reefs, which are dying around the world due to warming ocean temperatures.
In this process, your cremated remains are mixed with an environmentally safe cement mixture to create artificial reefs. You can choose a location, and your family can customize the reef with messages. These artificial reefs can enrich the local ecosystem and support coral and microorganisms.
Charity donations replace flowers
In addition to rethinking how the deceased’s body is dealt with, funeral services can also be made more ecologically friendly. Ask attendees to make a small donation to the deceased’s favorite charity instead of bringing flowers. Serve meat-free dishes, and encourage guests to share rides to the service.
The ways people are choosing to be laid to rest and how bereaved families are saying goodbye to their loved ones are undergoing disruption. New, innovative startups on the supply side as well as consumer demand are driving the push towards greener deaths, driving new innovation in funerals.
If you want to have a green burial and service for yourself, don’t be hesitant about taking what you might think is an unconventional approach. Plan out what you want and leave instructions for your loved ones. In the age of climate change and ecological challenges, it’s reassuring the very last thing you do on the planet could help make a difference.