The Ultimate in "Going"
spend our life trying to get back to our Earthly roots, living simpler
and off the land, recycling when we can, and doing as little damage to
the world around us as possible. We came into this life naked and with
no material trappings weighing us down. Now a movement is promoting
leaving the same way… consider it the ultimate in “going” green.
called “green burial” and while it might just be the next fad in
checking out of this life, it has some benefits for anyone looking to
live (and die) frugal, or for someone looking to go out with as little
impact on our beloved land as possible.
aspects are simple… no embalming, no casket if possible or an
earth-friendly biodegradable box if required by the state, a simple
marker, a tremendous cost-savings versus a traditional funeral and
According to the Arizona-based Green Burial Council, the organization
taking the lead on regulating green burials in the United States, the
traditional funeral industry is a $15 billion a year business. As more
and more people face hard economic times, or simply make the
transition toward less-costly living, the thought of saving “in the
end” makes sense. It's estimated a traditional funeral in the U.S.
costs in the neighborhood of $6,500, that according to the National
Funeral Directors Association. A green burial can be as inexpensive as
$1,500 to $4,500 depending on location, services and regional cost
states require a vault but not a casket. Others require a casket but
not a vault. Nearly every state allows for burial on private property
with the only stipulation being a minimum of acres owned and
completion of the necessary paperwork to document location and burial
for environmental, financial, peace of mind or any other reason, it
pays to look at end-of-life alternatives.
getting too morbid about it, here's a list of things to consider:
necessary? No. Embalming is a process done to help slow decomposition
and make a body more presentable for public viewing. According to Jon
Cozean, a third-generation funeral director in Farmington, Mo., and
past-president of the Missouri Funeral Directors Association, industry
standards require that a body buried without the process of embalming
be put in the ground within about 24 hours.
Oftentimes friends or relatives must make plans and travel long
distances to attend a funeral. Keeping the body in an acceptable
condition for viewing once they arrive has driven the trend toward
embalming in America. The process could be considered an unneeded
cost, taboo, or even spiritually unethical. Cozean says a body can be
cooled (refrigerated) or processed with new bio-friendly embalming
fluids and be held for longer periods of time prior to burial. Doing
so would allow family members travel time to arrive for a funeral
family which chooses to go green with the burial of a loved one but
money is not a major concern, many funeral homes are now offering
web-based real-time video streaming of funeral services. For a
relatively lost cost, sometimes a free service provided by the funeral
home, family members can log onto a secure password-protected website
and watch the funeral proceedings from anywhere. This would save on
the cost and complication of travel expenses and arrangement, and
allow for a quicker burial of the body... eliminating the need for
embalming is obviously not going to cause a health risk for the
deceased, studies have shown that it can create a health concern for
those who deal with it on a daily basis. The National Cancer Institute
released a study in late 2009 which showed funeral directors have a
"much higher incidence" of myeloid leukemia. The risk is linked to the
carcinogen chemical formaldehyde used in the embalming process.
Ironically, non-chemical embalming is really the normal and not the
exception. The vast majority of nations preserve their corpses without
chemicals, with Canada, the United States and a half-dozen others
being the exceptions.
This line of environmentally-friendly "green" caskets
are manufactured by New England Casket Co. of Boston,
distributed by Criswell Casket Co. of St. Louis, and are
available at Cozean Memorial Chapel. The model shown is the less
expensive and simplest. More detailed and modern designs are
available. The green embalming fluid is the "Enigma" eco
embalming product line manufactured by Champion Fluid Company of
Cremation has long been the main alternative to entombment in the U.S.
Admittedly the process reduces the body to a small container of ashes,
and modern technology has resulted in "scrubbers" and other steps to
keep resulting emissions out of the air.
thorough Internet search showed the average cost of cremation alone,
with no casket or service, to be about $1,000. Add a visitation and
service and the price rises to about $3,000 on average. That's
compared to the $7,000 to $10,000 average cost of a full range of
services with a casket and vault burial. The cost of a burial plot
varies widely based on location.
an urn of ashes to be spread in a meaningful location or placed on a
mantle is less costly than burial, new trends have resulted in a
variety of products which make even cremation more varied. Family
members can now purchase wearable jewelry which contains a small
opening in which a few ashes or hair fibers can be implanted as a