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Planning A Eco Friendly Funeral

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We all know that pre-planning a funeral can make things easier on your family, but did you know that you can also make an environmental difference? By choosing to prepare for your burial well ahead of time, you can also minimize the environmental impact your interment will have.

Choosing cremation over a traditional casket funeral can help prevent the release of chemical contaminants in several ways. Though we often think of coffins or caskets as large wooden boxes, in many cases modern caskets are made of chipboard with a veneer which requires large amounts of glue. Upholstery in the interior may contain other chemicals. There are a few casket options becoming available which are less harmful, utilizing materials like bamboo, but these may not be available in all areas for many years. Embalming, required in many states for a traditional funeral, can often be skipped when choosing cremation. Since embalming uses chemicals such as formaldehyde to preserve the body, it can pose a threat to soil and groundwater as the body eventually decays and releases the chemicals back into the environment.

Since cremated remains are usually placed in an urn, burial in most states does not require concrete vaulting. This has environmental impact because open space is needed for groundwater to be absorbed; concrete vaulting decreases available green spaces. In addition, a biodegradable urn could be utilized. Another option is scattering of the remains. Most states allow ashes to be scattered, and some cemeteries even provide gardens specifically for that purpose.

Although there is some argument that cremation's environmental friendliness suffers due to the fuel required and gases emitted by the crematorium, it is important to remember that the shipping and manufacture of caskets and urns also requires differing amounts of fuel. The smaller, lighter urns require less fuel both to ship and to manufacture.

Choosing to make disposal of your remains ecologically friendly is a wonderful final gesture. Even if you determine that cremation is not the appropriate answer, even asking about eco-friendly options may make your local funeral director aware of the need for environmentally relevant burial options like biodegradable urns. You may even find that some things which are "packaged" with pre-need plans, for example concrete vaulting, may not actually be required in your state but are included because most people think it's necessary. Ultimately, your burial is the last environmental impact you'll have on the earth. Why not make it as ecologically sound as possible?
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