Millions of Canadians are striving to reduce their environmental footprint while they’re alive, and now, some are looking to do the same after death with an eco-friendly funeral.

A feature image for a blog post about eco-friendly funerals in Canada.

In this post, we discuss what an eco-friendly funeral is, why it is chosen, the effects of the funeral industry on the environment, green funerals in Canada, and what the future might be.

What Is an Eco-Friendly Funeral?

An eco-friendly or “green” funeral is a funeral that strives to have the least possible impact on the earth’s environment.

Natural Decomposition

An eco-friendly funeral aims to allow the body to decompose freely and naturally, not preserved with synthetic embalming fluids such as formaldehyde.

Non-Toxic

By opting instead for non-toxic burial products, including a biodegradable cotton shroud, green funerals try in earnest to conserve natural resources and maintain environmental health.

Biodegradable Coffins

The preference is for biodegradable coffins built with cardboard, bamboo or another easy-to-replenish wood, instead of that which is slow to grow and contains brass or other embellishments.

Native Rocks and Plants

Native rocks or plants replace headstones, which consume massive amounts of energy to produce and transport.

Why Have a Green Funeral?

The reasons for choosing a green funeral are varied. Some want to lessen their impact on the earth; others want a more “traditional” burial in observance of religious or cultural law.

Several Reasons to Go Green in Death

For many, the appeal of the cemeteries that allow green funerals is that they serve not only as final resting places but also spots for recreation and agriculture due to their non-intrusive landscape.

Others, who view the funeral industry as overtly commercial, use natural burials as a way of continuing their life values of minimalism and simplicity in harmony with the natural world.

The Effect of Death on the Environment

Mechanization has produced an industry which in the U.S. alone consumes upwards of 90,000 tons of brass, steel, and copper, 1.6 million tons of concrete, and about 800,000 gallons of embalming fluids.

Cremation and Burial Can Be Damaging

Cremation has long been considered an environmentally friendly option, but the energy necessary to burn one body is roughly equal to the amount of fuel needed to drive 7,725 kilometers.

That is in addition to the CO2 and other greenhouse gases expelled into the atmosphere in the process.

A Green Funeral in Canada

In Canada, the idea of having an eco-friendly funeral has been slower to catch on than in the United States and elsewhere.

Gaining in Demand

However, as the environmental movement gains momentum, the idea of a green burial is gaining in popularity and demand.

More Place Offer Green Options

More and more of the provinces and territories are offering options for burial that are less damaging to the environment.

Websites for Research

There are even websites dedicated to providing information by region so that people can find out what eco-friendly options are available in their region.

One such website is talkdeath.com. They provide a directory for the provinces and territories of Canada, so you can find what’s listed for your location.

They also have other articles and information to support people who are looking for an eco-friendlier burial. You can also do an online search to find other sources with Canadian information.

The Future of Green Funerals

Dying people don’t typically spend their final days consumed with worry over the environmental impact of their remains.

Conversations are Happening

Nonetheless, conversations surrounding green funerals in Canada have become more frequent. As the public grows more inclined to be environmentally friendly even in death, so too does the technology to accommodate this desire.

Just as people compost and create zero-waste lifestyles, green funerals are becoming part of caring for the environment.

An eco-friendly funeral in Canada is becoming a real option in more and more places. You can explore what’s available in your region and make arrangements that suit your environmental values.

6 thoughts on “Eco-Friendly Funerals in Canada”

  1. I think that this is an excellent idea.

    There is absolutely no reason why anyone regardless of their background or religion should have any reason to find fault with your eco friendly funerals.

    None of the traditions have been removed apart from the headstone, which if preferred, will still allow a big eco impact with the other measures.

    This certainly is the way to move forward.  The more common they become, the more they will be used.

    1. Yes, this is probably going to become more commonplace as time goes on. More and more people are getting on board with examining traditions to see if there are eco-friendlier ways to do things, even with our remains.

  2. What a wonderful idea, I just wish it was more available outside of Canada. I’ve been watching the movement for years now and considering changing my plans to be cremated. I had thought that was an eco-friendly solution but after reading your article you made a good point about the energy used to burn a body. Unfortunately, it is the only other option for now but I can see the groundswell across the world that will bring sweeping changes to the way we live, work, and die.

    I’m happy for the worms to have me. LOL

    1. Eco-friendly funerals and burials seem to be a growing concept, so they may soon be a common thing in all regions of the world. It’ll certainly allow us to be environmentally-friendly in life and in death.

  3. Wow, eco-friendly funerals are something I’ve never heard about before. Now that I think about it, I always wondered what would happen if we buried everyone in coffins with the intention of preserving their bodies. I think we would amass a ton of graveyards real fast. It’s good that people are talking about environmental sustainability more in all aspects of life. It may be early thinking about my funeral at the age of 18, but I would have no problems with an eco-friendly funeral.

    1. I know what you mean. A funeral isn’t something we identify as an environmental issue until we really think about the way it’s being traditionally done. But it can’t go on the way it does indefinitely.

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