On the popular television show, Sesame Street, Kermit the Frog sang, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” In terms of his life as a frog puppet, that may be true. But being green has recently become easy as well as popular in terms of final wishes. In fact, green burials are all the rage for folks who are considering earth-friendly alternatives for final disposition of cremated remains.
Green Burial in a Nutshell
Over the past 50 years, Americans have sought ways to reduce their carbon footprint even in death. Using biodegradable materials that naturally dissolve into soil over time, green burials are easy on the earth. This is a departure from traditional burial, which typically requires the use of toxic embalming chemicals that could leech into land over time, compromising the quality of soil in surrounding areas. Eco-friendly options forego embalming and usually feature a biodegradable urn for cremains. The variety of available eco-and earth-friendly containers might surprise you. Some not only prevent harmful effects but provide fertilizer to help new life, such as trees, grow.
Green Burial History
Before the use of embalming fluids to preserve human remains, bodies were placed in soil, where they decomposed over time. In fact, until recently, green burials were used by every culture except ancient Egyptian and Chinese, who relied on mummification. As a side note, mummification is an expensive but possible option for Americans. For around $70k, your body can be mummified after you die. Pet mummification runs about $7,000. Ask your Foothill Funeral & Cremation funeral director if mummification is the right choice for you.
As far back as the Renaissance, scientists studied embalming to preserve organs for study. But embalming wasn’t popular until the 19th century. The United States eventually required the process, as a practical way to preserve bodies set for transport before burial. The fluid killed disease. It is little wonder this is true, as embalming chemicals usually contain a mixture of harsh toxins such as formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, and other solvents.
While the act of hosting a funeral does not pose a hazard for the environment, there are ways to share your love for Mother Earth even after you have died. Here are a few ideas for your funeral ceremony can go green:
- Let attendees sprinkle seeds on the top of the interred urn. This is an alternative to the flowers people place on top of caskets in more traditional ceremonies.
- Consider providing candles to ceremony guests.
- In lieu of flowers, ask friends and family to donate to your favorite eco-friendly charity.
- Some green burial sites offer opportunities for donations to fund tree plantings, birdhouses or park benches.
- Make sure the urn you pre-select is biodegradable. Many incorporate beautiful features such as artwork. Eco-urns contain non-toxic materials like sweet grass and palm to minimize the impact on earth compared to traditional caskets.
Green funerals are about more than saving money or even saving the earth. “Going” green will make a statement about who you are, thereby encouraging your friends and family to consider their own decisions relative to the environment. Foothill Funeral & Cremation offers lots of green options as well as providing a worksheet for you to complete, so your family knows what you want when the time comes.
Foothill Funeral & Cremation is one of very few funeral homes that are certified by the Green Burial Council. Located at 402 West Baseline in Glendora, Foothill Funeral & Cremation proudly serves the San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire. With years of experience in the mortuary industry, we have worked hard to build a reputation of quality, sincerity and trust. We would be honored to help you at your time of need or in the future. Call today (626) 335-0615 or drop by our showroom.