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Environmentally-Friendly Funeral Planning

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Environmentally-Friendly Funeral Planning

Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor.

Despite being part of the natural celebration of the cycle of life and death, most modern variations on traditional funeral practices are far from environmentally-friendly.

A burial generally involves a casket made out of wood taken from forests (most of which are not sustainable), and a body that has been embalmed using chemicals such as formaldehyde—a dangerous carcinogen.

While commonly thought to be less environmentally disruptive than a full-on burial, the process of cremation can also damage the environment by releasing a slew of hazardous gasses into the atmosphere, including: mercury, dioxin and carbon dioxide.

And those are just the environmental expenses.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average price of an adult funeral in 2009 was $6,560—more than nine times what it cost to bury someone in 1960.

This dramatic cost increase could be part of the reason why increasing numbers of older adults are looking into the possibility of a more down-to-earth burial ritual.

Related:
Funeral Planning Pointers
The Legacy Conversation: Talking About Funeral Arrangements
Funeral Songs and Music for an Elderly Parent’s Funeral

Funeral Planning Pointers originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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76 comments

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5:23AM PST on Feb 7, 2014

noted

12:18AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Thank you - very helpful.

1:35PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Having recently been to the cremation of a friend I was shocked at not only how expensive it was but also how wasteful the whole process must be. For my part I would prefer that my body does not cause any further damage to this planet but the idea of being buried has never appealed to me, the site of someone finding my remains in a couple of hundred years time and putting me in some type of museum kind of bothers me. So I guess that I'll go for cremation - of choice I'd prefer to be vaporised, as I'm hoping to be around for a year or two yet maybe that will be a choice then!

6:39PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Interesting, thank you.

3:06PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

Thanks.

2:56AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

To, Kelly R. The show Dirty Jobs showed the making of faux reefs that attract fish and other marine wildlife, although I don't remember them using human ash.

I'd always thought cremation, and now I know to specify no embalming. Then I once read you could be turned into a gem stone. I like the idea of a memory pin or ring. But the idea of being part of a reef or nurturing a tree is attractive too. All are better than being stuck in the ground, to me anyway. I think discussing this with your family is a good idea. Of course, if everyone likes the gemstone idea it'd give new meaning to the term "family jewels".

2:55AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

To, Kelly R. The show Dirty Jobs showed the making of faux reefs that attract fish and other marine wildlife, although I don't remember them using human ash.

I'd always thought cremation, and now I know to specify no embalming. Then I once read you could be turned into a gem stone. I like the idea of a memory pin or ring. But the idea of being part of a reef or nurturing a tree is attractive too. All are better than being stuck in the ground, to me anyway. I think discussing this with your family is a good idea. Of course, if everyone likes the gemstone idea it'd give new meaning to the term "family jewels".

12:30AM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

Very enlightening article about options...thanks so much!

9:32PM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

Interesting subject to research...

6:35PM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

I plan on donating my body to science, probably disection for medical students (so no one can ever give me shit for disecting animals in my various labs, I am willing to have the same done to my body) then after that, it's up to them.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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