Tips and tricks

How to choose a more environmentally-friendly funeral?

Funerals are an important moment in every family’s life, but they can also have a considerable impact on the environment. Today, more and more people want to minimize this impact by choosing a more environmentally-friendly funeral. In this article, I invite you to discover how to make this choice, by exploring the different options available to you in terms of cremation, burial and coffin.

Cremation, a greener alternative to traditional burial?

Cremation is an increasingly popular option for funerals in France. Indeed, it is often considered a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional burial. But is this really the case?

Cremation involves reducing the body to ashes by burning it at very high temperatures. This method offers several ecological advantages:

  • It limits the use of land for cemeteries, thus preserving natural spaces.
  • It reduces the carbon footprint of funerals, notably by limiting the need to transport the deceased and dig a grave.
  • It requires fewer resources and less energy to build funeral monuments.

However, cremation also has ecological drawbacks:

  • It produces gas and particle emissions, notably due to the combustion of the coffin and human remains. Some of these pollutants, such as mercury from dental amalgams, can be harmful to the environment.
  • It consumes a significant amount of energy to heat the crematorium (around 800 kWh per cremation).

So, although cremation may seem more environmentally friendly at first glance

Choosing an eco-friendly coffin to limit the impact of a funeral

The coffin is a central element of the funeral, which can also have a significant ecological impact. To choose a coffin that is more respectful of the environment, here are a few criteria to consider:

  • Material: choose a coffin made of wood from sustainably managed forests, or recycled cardboard. Avoid metal or plastic coffins, which are less environmentally-friendly and more difficult to recycle.
  • Finish: choose a coffin without varnish, paint or toxic glue, which can release pollutants during decomposition or cremation.
  • Size: choose a coffin adapted to the size of the deceased, to limit the consumption of raw materials and energy in its manufacture.
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There are also ecological coffins specifically designed to reduce the environmental impact of funerals. These models are generally made from biodegradable materials, such as cardboard, bamboo or linen, and can be customized to your personal requirements.

Ecological burial, a nature-friendly alternative

If you prefer to opt for burial, you can choose an ecological burial to limit the impact of the funeral on the environment. Here are a few tips to make your burial more respectful of nature:

  • Choose an ecological cemetery or a memorial garden, which offer burial spaces that are more respectful of the environment and biodiversity.
  • Choose a monument made of natural stone, wood or recycled materials, rather than concrete, granite or marble.
  • Opt for local, seasonal flowers and plants, rather than exotic or out-of-season floral arrangements.

It is also possible to plant a tree in memory of the deceased, to offset the CO2 emissions linked to the funeral and contribute to reforestation. Some funeral companies even offer inhu

Ecological funeral urns, to honor the memory of the deceased without harming the environment

If you choose cremation, the choice of funeral urn is also important to limit the ecological impact of the funeral. Here are a few criteria to consider when choosing an environmentally-friendly urn:

  • Material: opt for an urn made of wood, cardboard, ceramic or biodegradable materials, rather than metal or plastic.
  • Design: opt for a simple, uncluttered urn, without excessive decoration or polluting elements.
  • Destination: find out what scattering options are authorized in your region, and choose an urn adapted to these constraints (for example, a soluble urn for scattering at sea).

It is also possible to choose an ecological urn specially designed to minimize the environmental impact of the funeral, such as biodegradable urns or u

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Eco-responsible funeral service providers: organizing an environmentally-friendly funeral

To organize a more eco-friendly funeral, it’s important to choose an eco-responsible funeral provider, committed to respecting environmental and social criteria in all its activities. Here are a few questions to ask your provider to assess their ecological commitment:

  • What materials and processes are used in the manufacture of coffins and urns?
  • What is the raw materials procurement policy, and how is it implemented?
  • What environmental measures are in place at crematoria and burial sites (e.g. waste treatment, energy management, preservation of biodiversity)?
  • What ecological services are offered to families (e.g. forest burial, tree planting, scattering of ashes)?

Finally, don’t hesitate to compare the offers and prices of different service providers, so you can choose the one that best meets your expectations in terms of ecology and b

Eco-responsible gestures to accompany the deceased in his last wishes

As the deceased’s loved ones, you can also help make the funeral more environmentally friendly by adopting eco-responsible gestures:

  • Carpool or use public transport to get to the ceremony, to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Use local and seasonal flowers to pay tribute to the deceased, and avoid plastic packaging.
  • Offer vegetarian options as part of the funeral meal, to limit the event’s carbon footprint.

And don’t forget to tell other family members about your ecological approach, to encourage them to adopt a more sustainable approach.

Funeral insurance to anticipate ecological funerals

Planning and financing your own ecological funeral is a responsible step that can make things easier for your loved ones when you die. One way of anticipating these costs and ensuring that your wishes are respected is to take out funeral insurance. Here are a few points to bear in mind when taking out such insurance:

  • Check that the capital guaranteed is sufficient to cover the costs of an ecological funeral, which may be slightly higher than a traditional funeral (especially if you opt for a cardboard coffin or burial in the forest).
  • Make sure that your funeral insurance is compatible with the eco-responsible funeral home of your choice, and that it allows you to finance an environmentally-friendly funeral.
  • Specify your funeral wishes in the insurance contract, stipulating that you want an ecological funeral and detailing the important elements (cremation or burial, choice of coffin, place of ceremony, etc.).
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Chemical-free conservation care for a more environmentally-friendly deceased body

When preparing the body of the deceased, conservation treatments are often carried out to slow down the natural deterioration of the body and improve the aesthetic appearance when the deceased is presented to his or her loved ones. However, these treatments generally involve the use of chemicals that are potentially toxic for the environment and for those in contact with the body.

To make funerals more ecological, it is possible to opt for chemical-free conservation care, using natural, environmentally-friendly methods:

  • Ecological thanatopraxy, which involves using natural, biodegradable substances (such as tea tree essential oil or vinegar) to disinfect and preserve the body, without polluting the soil or groundwater during burial or cremation.
  • Cold preservation, which maintains the body at a low temperature (around 4°C) to slow down decomposition, without the use of chemicals. This method is particularly suitable for short periods between death and funeral.

By choosing environmentally-friendly conservation care, you are helping to reduce the environmental impact of funerals.

Alternative funeral practices for a greener burial

In addition to cremation and burial, there are other funeral practices that can be considered more environmentally friendly, and which are increasingly being offered by funeral directors:

  • Aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, involves dissolving the body in a bath of hot water and caustic soda, then collecting the remains in powder form. This method is considered more environmentally friendly than cremation, as it produces fewer gas emissions and consumes less energy.
  • Cryonics, in which the deceased’s body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, then reduced to powder by vibration. This method is also less polluting than cremation, but requires a great deal of energy to maintain the body’s temperature at -196°C.

Before choosing one of these alternative funeral practices, it’s important to find out about their availability, cost and environmental impact, as well as the regulations in force in your area.

To organize an eco-friendly funeral, it’s essential to consider all aspects of the funeral, from cremation or burial to choice of coffin, conservation care and eco-responsible funeral providers. By adopting eco-responsible gestures and by making informed choices, you can help reduce the environmental impact of funerals and honor the memory of the deceased in a way that respects nature.

Melissa T, a journalist and web writer, is the curious mind behind "Death Chronicles," an original blog that approaches death in a unique and unconventional way. Driven by a passion for the subject since her youth, she launched this blog to demystify death, providing accurate information with a touch of humor and irreverence. Melissa explores all aspects of death, from historical and cultural perspectives to medical advancements, while also addressing sensitive topics such as grief and funeral rituals. Her sensitive and empathetic approach gives a voice to those often forgotten in the narrative of death, and "Death Chronicles" has become an invaluable resource for those seeking to understand and celebrate the inevitable end of our earthly journey.

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