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Planning a Funeral

Hello, my name is Damian. Until last year, I had never planned a funeral. However, when both of my parents passed away within weeks of each other, I suddenly had to plan two. I was experiencing such grief that I didn't know where to start. Thankfully, my friend put me in touch with a fantastic funeral home who guided me through the entire process. They looked after the bodies, recommended a church and helped to arrange transport for guest. I decided to start this blog to help others who need to plan a funeral. I hope you find the information useful.

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Planning a Funeral

Options for the Greenest Possible Burial

by Christopher King

Burial literally involves returning a body to the earth. As environmentally friendly as this might sound, a burial isn't always so green. But if a deceased family member or friend had a love for nature, they might appreciate those left behind making an effort to make sure that their final resting place is an eco-friendly one. What are some of the ways you can ensure that their grave is as ecologically sound as possible?

Mushrooms and Burial

One recent development in green burial options is a mycelium coffin. Mycelium is a component of fungi, and this type of coffin is designed to quickly biodegrade after burial. The process in fact only takes four to six weeks. These coffins are not yet widely available, but your loved one can easily be laid to rest in what is known as a mushroom burial suit. Similar to a mycelium casket, the burial suit speeds up the process of biodegradation, returning your loved one's body to the earth in a natural way. 

Embalming and Choosing a Casket

A special burial suit designed to speed up biodegradation can be redundant when the surrounding coffin (and even your loved one's remains) are not compatible with the process. For the greenest burial possible, your loved one should not be embalmed. The chemical composition of embalming fluid is primarily methanol and formaldehyde. This embalming fluid will leach into the coffin and then into the surrounding soil as the coffin disintegrates. The coffin itself should also be eco-friendly, meaning it should not be varnished or have any toxic sealants applied to it. A plain, unfinished wooden coffin is appropriate, as are bamboo or wicker coffins. Some jurisdictions might not even require a coffin, and a simple burial shroud might be sufficient. 

Green Burial Sites

There are many green funeral services available, and your funeral director can refer you to a local green burial site. This is essentially a cemetery, but it doesn't look anything like a traditional cemetery. The site resembles a forest or bushland, with no grave markers. Remains are buried, either in a biodegradable coffin or in a shroud (and embalming is not permitted). The location of burial is noted using a GPS marker, and then your loved one is quite literally left to nature.

There are many ways in which your loved one's return to the earth can be as natural as possible, so be sure to talk to your funeral director about your available options.

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