Help & Advice

Arranging a Funeral

What is a “Green” Funeral?

The environment and the climate crisis is very topical, with more people focussed on living as sustainably as possible. This trend has led to an increase in understanding options for “green” funerals which may better consider the impact on the environment when saying goodbye. In this guide we’ll be unpacking what a “green” funeral is and how to arrange one.

What is a “green” funeral?

There is no standard industry definition of a “green” or “eco” funeral. All funerals will have an environmental impact to some extent, based on all the choices which have been made for the service.

Depending upon your particular preference or environmental concern, there may be different choices you can make to personalise your funeral in order to take account of environmental factors.

Why choose a green burial?

Certain people may make “green” funeral choices over a traditional funeral service because they may wish to continue a more sustainable way of life after they have passed. If someone has been passionate about protecting the planet throughout their lifetime, they may prefer a natural burial.

“Green” burials tend to take place in outdoor spaces like flower meadows or natural woodland. These scenic sites create a more pleasant atmosphere for a funeral service, and the simplicity of the surroundings allows the day to be focussed on celebrating your loved one.

What sustainable funeral options are there?

The options available to you will depend on the funeral provider and service locations you choose. The most common tend locations for “green” funerals tend to be:

  • A natural or “green” funeral in a cemetery
  • A natural or “green” funeral in a woodland.
  • A natural or “green” funeral in your home or private land

Remember, you can make different choices for your funeral service, depending upon your particular environmental concern. From the preparation of the body and the casket to the transport and clothes you wear on the day. Most funeral directors will be able to accommodate your requests. They are there to discuss your arrangement plans and explore your options with you, so you can create the funeral your loved one would have wanted, whilst trying to take into account environmental factors.

How do you arrange an “eco-friendly” funeral?

There is no standard industry definition of a “green” or “eco” funeral. All funerals will have an environmental impact to some extent, based on all the choices which have been made for the service. Your funeral director is there to guide you on the choice that you have available. Some of these choices will allow you to take environmental matters into consideration.

Arranging a funeral can be overwhelming but with the right people around you, the process can be simple.

Much like a traditional funeral, you will work closely with the funeral director to discuss your plans for the service, and they will do their utmost to accommodate your requests. You should take time to explore your options.

Some natural burial ground, for example, may restrict what can and can’t happen. For example, some may prohibit headstones. That being said, as long as you follow the guidelines of your chosen burial ground (which are all centred around the conservation of the site), there may be a number of options available to cater for your wishes

Funeral Partners offer a wide range of fully flexible funeral plans. You may be able to tailor your funeral plan to accommodate certain environmental or “green” concerns, in order to ensure your wishes are carried out.

What do natural or “green” funeral burials entail or prohibit?

Depending upon your particular preference or environmental concern, there may be different choices you can make to personalise your funeral in order to take account of environmental factors. For example:

A green funeral:

  • Your woodlands burial site may have made certain commitments e.g. concerning conservation
  • You may choose not to embalm the deceased
  • Your woodlands burial site may prohibit certain grave types or permanent memorials, such as headstones, though you may be able to temporarily mark the grave with a wooden marker or plant a tree in their memory
  • You may not be able to tend to, or garden, the grave, because this is managed and maintained by the burial ground
  • You may choose a coffin that is biodegradable, or made from certain materials which may be more sustainable

If visiting the exact location of your loved one’s resting place is particularly important to you, you should carefully consider if a woodland burial is right for you and your family.

For more support following the death of a loved one, there are many organisations that can help. Find out more about bereavement support.

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