here are certain topics people tend to try and avoid, , death being one of the biggest. The tough truth is, your corpse, and everybody else’s corpse, can be quite bad for the environment. Any which way you slice it, getting a body to it’s final resting state or place will generate unwanted waste . Let’s explore some of the common ways we say goodbye and the associated impact.
Most of us have probably been to a traditional burial , and even those who haven’t are likely familiar with the idea of “6 feet under”. We don’t expect anyone to be contemplating the environmental impact of a loved one’s death proceedings at this time, so it is important to understand the impact ahead of time.
- Bodies are prepared using embalming fluid which is an inorganic compound
- A significant amount of carbon rich cement with a large footprint manufacturing process is often used at the grave site.
- Deforestation occurs to clear the burial site and build the coffin..
It is estimated that burying a single body uses about 2 tons of materials! Overtime, the wasteful products used to bury a body decompose and leak into our environment. This can affect our water supply and soil health. Certainly, standard burials should be DOA..
In the last 4 years cremation has surpassed standard burials as the most popular post-life option. Cremation requires incinerating a body until it is reduced to ash. Although cremation is a more climate-conscious option than a standard burial, it still is not without its environmental fallout. Cremating bodies is responsible for millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. It’s estimated that cremating each body releases about 400kg of carbon into the atmosphere. You could, however, offset the cremation of your body or a loved one’s with carbon credits and reduce greenhouse gases to the exact level produced. The average U.S. cremation emits as much carbon dioxide as burning about two tanks of gas in a car. This offset would be simple and affordable.. Cremation is also significantly more affordable than a traditional burial. You won’t be buried in the cost of saying goodbye, so offsetting could be in the budget.
You may not have heard of resomation, which isn’t shocking. Resomation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, was developed in the mid 90’s and is only legal in 19 states. The dearly departed is put in a tank with wastewater and left to decompose. , The byproduct is an effective fertilizer thanks to the rich nutrient base in the human body.
This is more natural continuing the natural circle of life. It is estimated that it leaves a carbon footprint 6 times smaller than a normal burial. It is also a significantly less expensive option that requires no permanent plot of land. The idea of your body decomposing in a tank of wastewater might not sound appealing to everyone but there’s something inherently beautiful about your body being used to grow new life. Resomation is the most eco-friendly widely-practiced option today.
New, greener ways of saying goodbye are rising from the ashes frequently. We will keep you informed as we learn of new options, but remember that anything involving less materials and natural body decomposition is generally a better option.. We wish you and your loved ones many years of health and happiness, but hope you do consider the future of our planet when deciding how to say goodbye.