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