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The core principle of the green burial movement is to reduce the carbon footprint of ones death as much as possible, ideally down to zero impact.  Additionally there is a desire to reduce or eliminate the release of dangerous chemicals into the environment.  First we must understand the sources of carbon emissions and chemicals in funeral services.

Carbon sources:

  • The body; as a living organism we are primarily made up of 6 elements, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, Calcium and Phosphorus.  When we die we eventually breakdown or decompose into these six elements.  Carbon is a relatively small percentage of the total.
  • Transportation; typically the body is transported 2 or 3 times before final disposition.
  • The Cemetery: While the cemetery itself is a big open green space, the lawn care and other operations at the cemetery can be a significant source of carbon emissions.
  • The Crematory:  Crematories use fossil fuels to cremate the body, this combined with the carbon in the body represents a significant carbon release into the atmosphere.
  • Merchandise: Taking the time to understand where and how the funeral merchandise you choose is made can go a long way to reducing your final carbon footprint.  A cheap metal casket made in China (yes they do import caskets too) will have a much larger carbon foot print than a locally made wooden casket.
  • Concrete Outer Burial Container (OBC) or “vault”:  The manufacture of concrete is a significant source of carbon emissions.  The transportation of these OBC's also contributes to your final carbon footprint.

Dangerous Chemicals:

  • Merchandise:  The primary concern here is paints on metals and finishes used on wood.
  • Embalming Chemicals:  Traditional embalming fluids have not been shown to be a danger to the environment, however, we understand that the environmentally minded consumer may not find that argument to be all that convincing.  When the law or practical necessity require embalming, there are environmentally friendly solutions available. 

If the impact your death will have on the environment concerns you, please call or come in and talk to us.  We will be happy to discuss your concerns, and come up with a plan that meets your needs and minimizes your impact.

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