Getting cremated is already considered to be somewhat environmentally friendly because, unlike burial, cremation takes up no space in the ground and involves no placement of metal or concrete in the earth. However, if you're pre-planning your own memorial and cremation services, there are ways that you can make your plans even more environmentally friendly. The following tips will help you stay green as you decide what you want for your future cremation and memorial service.
Pick an Environmentally Friendly Coffin
The ornate coffins that people choose for burial are made from sturdy, sealed and finished wood. People are also cremated in coffins, but these coffins are burned right away and are not for presentation purposes. This is a perfect opportunity to choose a coffin made of sustainable material, like bamboo, or from a lightweight material that uses few natural resources, like cardboard.
Choose a Biodegradable Urn
Urns come in all forms and can be made from sustainable and biodegradable materials. Choose an urn made from environmentally friendly materials. Like the casket, an urn made of bamboo or cardboard would be a good option.
Green Up Your Memorial Service and Reception
When planning the memorial service, request the pages of hymns and the programs be printed on recycled paper. If possible, choose a location for your memorial service that is close to the majority of your mourners, so they won't have to drive a long distance (and thus burn a lot of gas) to reach the event. As you plan the reception, create a menu made from organic and locally sourced produce.
Ask for Environmentally Friendly Donations
Many people choose to send flowers to memorial services, but there are more environmentally friendly donations that can be made. Make a request that your mourners send money to a charity or plant a tree in your honor.
Select a Living Marker, Like a Tree or Bush
Some people choose to get a memorial stone even if they've been cremated. Headstones are made from stones quarried from the earth. Since stones are a non-renewable natural resource, headstones are themselves environmentally unfriendly. As an alternative, have a living memorial, like a fruit tree, planted in your name.
Work With Your Funeral Home
If you're planning your memorial and cremation through a funeral home, work with your funeral director to generate ways that you can keep your service environmentally friendly. It's also important to communicate your ideas with your loved ones, so they'll understand the reasoning behind your choices. For more information, speak with your funeral home director. He or she can help you organize your cremation and memorial services.
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