Green Funerals



Agreen funeral is a more holistic, informal and cost-effective way ofcelebrating a loved one`s departure (Staff, 2013). Focus is usuallyplaced on uncomplicated methods that will not interfere with thenatural process of body decomposition. In other words, greencemeteries avoid the use of resource-intensive methods. The past fewyears have witnessed a remarkable increase in popularity of this typeof funeral. Rather than accentuating grief by wearing black clothingand attending somber funeral services, people have turned to a typeof funeral service that celebrates the life of the deceased. Thispaper discusses the impact and popularity of green funerals.

Theprimary purpose of green funerals is the reduction of waste andresource use (Staff, 2013). Green burial practices discourage the useof embalming chemicals, reinforced cement, and metal caskets whenburying the body. The intention here is to use minimal resources toallow the body to deconstruct faster. The upside of green funerals istheir ability to bring down the cost of burials and impact theenvironment positively. Traditional burials use chemicals such asembalming fluids (830,000 gallons), wood (300,000 caskets everyyear), steel (800,000 steel caskets annually), concrete (1.6 milliontons of concrete every year), stones, and water to sustain thelandscape of traditional cemeteries. The use of these products intraditional burial practices impacts the environment negatively.

Greencemeteries are more like natural preserves, with wildflowers, grass,trees, and shrubs (Staff, 2013). Usually, some pathways lead peopleto burial sites, where engraved stones are used to mark particularburial areas. Green burial practices often place emphasis on methodsthat encourage quicker decomposition of the body and the preservationof the environment. Standard methods include excavating the burialsite by hand to maintain natural plant diversity, discouragingpreserving the body with embalming fluids, mounding the earth on thegrave site, using biodegradable materials to build caskets and burialshrouds, and using engraved stones that are indigenous to the regionto mark individual grave sites.

Consequently,green funerals have gained popularity among the masses since theyoffer eco-friendly burial alternatives (Shan, 2015). According to asurvey conducted by AARP, 21% of the respondents interviewed claimedthat they were interested in a funeral service that isenvironmentally friendly. Joe Sehee, the pioneer of the Green BurialCouncil, contends that green burials do not only encourage the use ofenvironmentally safe practices but also protect the health ofworkers, preserve the habitat, resources, and reduce carbonemissions. Sehee also asserts that people prefer green burials sincesuch funerals help the deceased connect to life by allowing them tobe part of the natural cycle of life. Also, green burials are moreaffordable when compared to traditional burials. The cost oftraditional burials averages at $10,000 while that of green burialsaverages at half of this amount. In fact, cremation is a lot cheaper,at around $1,000 (Shan, 2015).

Ina recap of the above discussion, green funerals are more holistic,informal and cost-effective ways of celebrating the departure ofloved ones. Uncomplicated methods that do not interfere with thenatural process of body decomposition are usually preferred to theconventional body preservation practices used in traditional burialpractices. Green funerals have experienced remarkable increases inpopularity because they are more environmentally friendly andcost-effective compared to the traditional burial practices.


Shan,K. (2015).&nbspGreenburials offer eco-friendly option.&nbspThePoughkeepsie Journal.Retrieved 1 July 2016, from

Staff,E. (2013). , 1. Retrieved from