If your loved one was an individual who felt strongly about environmental protection, then you may want to invest in the services of a green or environmentally friendly funeral home when the loved one passes away. This is something that more and more people are doing. In fact, over 50% of the population prefers to use an environmentally friendly service or business. If you want to use a green funeral home but have no idea what types of services may be offered, keep reading to understand.
Body Preservation Options Besides Formaldehyde
Most people understand that the body of the deceased is prepared with preservation fluids. These fluids are added to the body once the blood and other natural fluids are released. The embalming fluids are traditionally made from a formaldehyde solution. Formaldehyde is still used, but concentrations are lower than they used to be. The percentage of the chemical in a general preservative will likely be between about 18% and 37%.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and it can leach into the earth as bodies decompose. The chemical can then make its way into natural water sources and pollute the fluid you drink. Since formaldehyde is so harmful to the environment, most green funeral homes do not use traditional preservatives. Natural preservatives are used instead like ones made from essential oils like camphor oil.
If you are opposed to the use of preservatives, then an external natural anesthetic may be used so the body can be viewed. Dry ice is also an option and so is the complete avoidance of any and all preservatives. If you do not want any preservatives, but still want to hold a viewing, then a fragrant oil may be used across the body. With that in mind, you may need to hold the viewing within 24 to 48 hours after death.
Green Caskets or Shrouds
There are several different options that you can choose from when you consider a green burial. The burial may involve the use of a casket and a traditional plot. When it comes to caskets, there are several green and biodegradable choices. Woven wicker, seagrass, plain pine, and cardboard are choices offered to you. The caskets can then be paired with traditional burial plots encased in concrete.
If a completely green and environmentally friendly option is desired, then it is possible not to choose a coffin at all. A shroud may be utilized instead. Shrouds can be paired with natural burial grounds where bodies are placed in plots and are allowed to decompose and recycle naturally. Thankfully, green burials are legal in all 50 states and your funeral home will transport the body to the nearest natural burial ground.
Additional Cremation Options
If your loved one wanted to be cremated, then you should know that cremation is not always the most environmentally friendly option due to the pollutants that are released into the air during the body burning process. However, there are some cremation facilities that offer more environmentally friendly options. For example, flameless cremation is a green choice that uses heat without actual combustion to reduce the body to ashes.
Also, something called bio cremation may be offered where the body is covered with chemicals like potassium hydroxide to quickly reduce the body to basic mineral compounds.
Like traditional cremation, green alternatives typically take a few hours to complete and you will be given the ash remains afterwards. However, you should know that newer green options are often more costly than traditional cremation. Also, your loved one may need to be transported out of town because not all cremation facilities offer environmentally friendly processes. Keep these things in mind when speaking with a funeral home and weighing your options.