Planning an Environmentally Friendly Funeral

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Nobody wants to think about their own funeral, but spending some time planning it at least gives you the confidence that you'll get the send-off you want after you're gone.

For many people, this means choosing things like music, readings and who they'd like to be involved in the funeral service. However, there's are a lot of other important factors you might want to think about.

If you're someone who really cares about the environment, putting your own funeral plan together lets you make sure it will happen without causing an unnecessarily big environmental impact. Having the peace of mind that your ethical stance can continue after your death is something you can't put a price on. Here are some things to think about when you're planning your environmentally friendly funeral.

The coffin

If you're environmentally conscious, it stands to reason that you'll most likely have a bit of a hesitation about choosing a wooden coffin. After all, the wood has to come from somewhere, which most likely means a tree has been felled to harvest it.

Luckily, there are some great options to help with this problem. Willow and bamboo are two materials that are highly sustainable, renewable resources. They can each be woven into basket-style coffins that are not only environmentally sound, but that look beautiful and unusual as well.

Another option is a cardboard coffin. While this might make you picture something cobbled together from flimsy cardboard box material, they are, of course, much stronger than they sound. They're also biodegradable and even available in a huge selection of printed designs.

All of these materials can also be used for urns should you choose to be cremated.

Burial or cremation?

There are pros and cons to each of these choices. Some people are concerned by the pollution caused by cremation, while others see the land taken up by burial and its subsequent maintenance as more of a problem. If you choose not to be embalmed, there won't be any polluting chemicals should you be buried.

Ultimately, this is a difficult choice with arguments for each side, so it's worth spending some time researching further and thinking about this carefully.

The service

If you live somewhere with generally good weather, an outdoor service eliminates the need for a large indoor gathering and all the energy consumption that entails. You may also like to request that there not be any flowers if the farming to produce them is something you disagree with.

It might be a good idea to include a reading about the decisions you've made for your funeral and the reasons behind them, perhaps written by yourself and delivered by a close loved one.