The eco-conscious consumer is not just a fad, it’s here to stay. People are seeking to live healthier, more active lifestyles. Many of these same people are also looking to continue to be eco-friendly after they pass with a green burial, or be memorialized in another environmentally friendly way. This consumer is beginning to recognize the detrimental environmental effects of traditional burials – significant wood resources are consumed to make an elaborate casket, concrete or metal resources are used to produce a vault that holds the casket, and embalming fluid that’sinjected into the deceased can leak out and be toxic to nearby groundwater.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are opting against a “traditional burial”for yourself and are electing to be “green” after you pass, there are a growing number of options that you can choose from.
One option is a green burial, or natural burial, without a fancy casket, vault, or embalming fluid. With its growing popularity, many cemeteries are beginning to dedicate a portion of their land to green burials where you can choose to be placed only in a simple wooden casket that biodegrades over time, or simply wrapped in a cloth – no vault, no embalming fluid. It allows for a person’s body to break down naturally without the presence of chemicals and become one with the earth. Markers for these types of burials are usually made of locally sourced wood or stone. With hundreds of green burial sites existing throughout the U.S. and more becoming available each week, you can most likely find one nearby you with a simple online search.
Another option that’s growing in popularity is to become a tree after you pass. As a refresher from sixth grade science class - a tree generates oxygen, takes in carbon dioxide, and provides habitat for wildlife – something that truly gives back to the environment and future generations. A system that’s growing in popularity in the U.S. that gives families everything they need to successful grow a tree from a loved one is called The Living Urn®. It was developed by a group of entrepreneurs from Colorado, along with a team of arborists and soil scientists. This patent pending planting system comes with their proprietary BioUrn®, a biodegradable urn made only from recycled plant materials and containing no glues or chemicals. It also comes with unique soil additives that counter certain properties in cremated remains to make the environment suitable for tree growth. Lastly, The Living Urn®comes with a tree seedling, or baby tree, of your choice provided by the Arbor Day Foundation, instead of a packet of seeds that other bio urns provide. Even experienced growers can find it challenging to grow a tree from a seed without the assistance of a greenhouse, and by starting with a baby tree, it’s much easier to grow a healthy, mature tree from your ashes.