Embracing Plastic-Free Funerals: Honouring Loved Ones and the Planet

2nd July 2024#environmental#funerals#natural-burial
Embracing Plastic-Free Funerals: Honouring Loved Ones and the Planet

Rhi Leedam

Managing Director

This month we are embracing plastic-free July!

As environmental consciousness grows, many people are seeking ways to reduce their ecological footprint in all aspects of life—including in their final farewell. Plastic-free funerals are an emerging trend, offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional funeral practices. By choosing biodegradable materials and sustainable options, plastic-free funerals honour both the memory of the deceased and the health of our planet. Here’s how you can plan a plastic-free funeral that is respectful, meaningful, and environmentally conscious.

Why Choose a Plastic-Free Funeral?

Environmental Impact

Plastic waste is a significant environmental issue, with millions of tons ending up in landfills and oceans every year. Traditional funerals often involve plastic in coffins, embalming fluids, floral arrangements, and memorial items. By opting for a plastic-free funeral, you help reduce pollution and promote sustainability.

Natural Decomposition

Biodegradable materials used in plastic-free funerals decompose naturally, returning nutrients to the earth and supporting the natural cycle of life. This contrasts with plastic, which can take hundreds of years to break down.

Honouring Nature

For many, a plastic-free funeral is a way to celebrate the life of a loved one by emphasising their connection to nature. It aligns with values of environmental stewardship and respect for the natural world.

Steps to Plan a Plastic-Free Funeral

Choose a Biodegradable Coffin or Shroud

Biodegradable Coffins: Select coffins made from natural materials like wicker, bamboo, or cardboard. These materials decompose naturally and have a lower environmental impact.

Shrouds: Opt for natural fibre shrouds, such as those made from cotton, linen, or wool. Shrouds offer a simple, elegant, and eco-friendly alternative to traditional coffins.

Sustainable Floral Arrangements

Natural Flowers: Use fresh, locally-sourced flowers that decompose naturally. Avoid plastic ribbons, foam, and synthetic materials in arrangements.

Living Memorials: Consider potted plants or trees that can be planted at home in memory of the deceased, providing a lasting tribute that benefits the environment.

Memorial Items

Biodegradable Urns: For cremation, choose biodegradable urns made from materials like paper, salt, or clay. These urns break down naturally when buried or placed in water.

Eco-Friendly Keepsakes: Select memorial items made from natural materials, such as wooden photo frames, stone markers, or recycled paper products.

Green Burial Grounds

Natural Burial Grounds: Consider a natural burial ground that adheres to eco-friendly practices. These sites often prohibit the use of non-biodegradable materials and promote conservation efforts.

Conservation Cemeteries: Some cemeteries dedicate a portion of their land to conservation, protecting natural habitats and providing a serene resting place.

Sustainable Transportation

Carpooling: Encourage carpooling among attendees to reduce carbon emissions.

Electric or Hybrid Vehicles: If transportation is needed, opt for electric or hybrid vehicles.

Eco-Friendly Funeral Services

Digital Programs: Use digital funeral programs instead of printed ones to reduce paper waste.

Online Tributes: Create an online memorial page where loved ones can share memories, photos, and messages, reducing the need for physical materials.

Educating and Involving Loved Ones

Planning a plastic-free funeral involves communicating your wishes clearly to family and friends. Discuss the importance of environmental considerations and how they align with the values of the deceased. By involving loved ones in the planning process, you can ensure a shared understanding and commitment to honouring the memory of the departed in an eco-friendly manner.

A plastic-free funeral is a meaningful way to celebrate the life of a loved one while minimising environmental impact. By choosing biodegradable materials, sustainable practices, and eco-friendly options, you can create a respectful and environmentally conscious farewell. Embracing plastic-free funerals reflects a commitment to preserving the natural world for future generations, ensuring that the legacy of the deceased is one of both love and stewardship.