Monday, January 4, 2010

Greener Burial Options

Since my grandpa's death, this has been on my mind lately.

According to this site ever year, American funerals use 30 million board feet of casket wood, 90,000 tons of steel, 1.6 tons of concrete and 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid. That doesn't take into account the thousands of acres of land dedicated to cemetaries.

I have always found traditional funerals to be somewhat wasteful, and planned on cremation. I learned from the same site that many times cremation releases dioxin, hydrochloric acid, sulfer dioxide and carbon dioxide into the environment. So what green options are out there?

After reading on this blog I found a few ideas for greener burial options.

Instead of a traditional casket one can get one made from wicker, bamboo or wood from a sustainable source such as pine. In place of embalming fluid, dry ice can be used to preserve the body until burial. There are green cemetaries where there are no vaults and no headstones. This allows the planting of trees so that land doesn't go to waste, and allows natural decomposition of the body to return to the earth.

There are also green crematories that meet or exceed emissions standards. Cremains can be mixed with concrete and put into the ocean to encourage the growth of coral reefs.

The most useful, and most frugal option I found was the donation of the body to science. It allows medical professionals to learn things about the human body which is helpful to the living. Many places offer free cremation as well. I really think this is the way I want to go. I am already an organ donor. I really won't care one way or another once I am dead. I might as well make my death useful to someone. You can find information about body donation here and here.

For my project 365 image of the day: we actually got a bit of snow this morning. I am in MI but the snow keeps missing us so it was nice to wake up and see a little bit. It is still snowing for now so maybe we will get enough to do a bit of sledding.

1 comment:

  1. That's really interesting information on the green burials. I hadn't ever thought of it before.

    Kudos on being an organ donor! So many people are not, but if everyone was then there wouldn't be thousands of people waiting for life saving organs.