As a funeral director, you may have noticed a rise in requests for green burials. This may not be only a passing trend. Being prepared to meet the demand may put you ahead of the curve. Informing yourself of the available options to offer your clients can show that you are prepared to handle needs that often must be met on a moments’ notice.
More and more, people are concerned with their impact on the environment. An increase of thought is rising towards the consequences of the over-use of natural resources, whether on a large scale or as small as limiting drive-time. Imagine someone who, over the course of their life, has learned to recycle, rides a bicycle instead of driving a car, and has built a compost bin, with which to use the contents, in their inner-city garden. If their efforts to make their life one of low environmental impact, it is likely that the thought of their remains causing harm would be disturbing to them. A natural burial may be more suited to their wishes.
Green burials have been in existence until around the Civil War era, when thousands of fallen men and women had to be transported across great distances, or were held for a long period of time until their family could claim them. Simply put, the need for preservation was urgent. This need still holds true in many instances, especially during times of war. But for the average civilian, their funeral is likely to be held somewhere close to home, thereby, eliminating the urgency for chemical preservation.
What are your client’s options when considering a green burial? Is there a time limit for the remains to be interred? Are there laws that prohibit the burial of embalmed remains or that govern how they are handled and transported? One excellent site to refer to when searching for these answers is The Green Burial Council. This non-profit, independent organization provides comprehensive guidelines, definitions and resources to help everyone make environmentally sustainable decisions about their final arraignments.
Not only are more people becoming concerned with the environment, they are also more conscious of their spending. On average, a funeral can cost more than what some people can meet. This is not to say that a green burial is any less meaningful. In fact, for some, the natural return to dust is a deeply spiritual experience. As a funeral director, presenting your clients with the option for a green funeral, can help to lessen their guilt or embarrassment. Try reassuring clients that a green burial is inclusive of ceremony, flowers, a eulogy, anything they may wish to incorporate to honor the memory of their loved-one. Present them with a display of available urns, bio-degradable coffins, organic bouquets. All of these things can help to your clients to understand that any funeral can be a meaningful funeral.
Many people do not know that there is a wide variety of materials that can be used in a green burial. The foremost guideline to remember is that the material be bio-degradable. Something as simple as an un-bleached cotton shroud is perfectly suitable. Other people may prefer a more traditional container, such as wood. Pine is a commonly used resource, but hardwoods are often found in use as well. Many eco-friendly manufacturers will replace a tree for every one that is used to create a coffin.
If your client should decide upon cremation, there is a wide selection of urns in which to choose from, that fall under the criteria of being green. Biodegradable urns, whether for scattering, burial in earth or water, are typically made from non-toxic and environmentally friendly materials. With the abundance of resources for going green with a funeral, you can now present a well-thought out option to your Eco-conscious clientele.