What’s involved in an environmentally friendly funeral?
By Maplebrook Wills
22nd Oct '18
An environmental approach
With electric cars and plastic-free products on the rise, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of people are opting for eco-friendly funerals. In fact, natural burial is a growing social movement.
But what exactly is involved?
First of all, cremation is out. And burials typically use coffins made of natural, biodegradable materials such as bamboo, willow, cardboard or a woven material like wicker.
At some sites, you don’t need a coffin at all. Some natural burial sites accept bodies, as long as they’re wrapped in a shroud or some other kind of biodegradable container or wrapping.
Only in exceptional circumstances will embalmed bodies be accepted. That’s because embalming chemicals are toxic and natural burial forbids them, to prevent them leaching into the ground.
Natural burial sites
The burial sites themselves vary from wildflower meadows with some trees to existing woodland and managed parkland. Others are special areas within existing cemeteries, including some of those run by local councils.
The first was opened in Carlisle in May 1993 and there are now over 270 sites in the UK. Typically, graves aren’t marked with a headstone or other memorial but plants or trees. Some sites even insist on native species.
One example of a natural burial ground is Brocklands in Yorkshire. The site has a map and visitors can find plots by the number at the of the grave. Over time, as the surrounding trees and plants become more established, the plots simply become part of the wider woodland.
What’s the cost?
The cost varies from site to site, but members of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds charge about £1,000, of which £600 is for the plot itself and £400 for internment.
Whether or not you wish to be buried naturally, the cost of all kinds of funerals is expected to rise steeply in the years ahead. In recent years, the average price in the UK has doubled, from about £2,000 14 years ago to over £4,000 today.
One way of beating this price rise, and help your family enjoy more of your estate, is to pay for your funeral today with a pre-paid funeral plan.