3 Environmentally Friendly Burial Options You May Not Know About

Death can be a touchy topic for some people, and some also have a hard time discussing burial options and funeral arrangements. The grieving process makes it difficult to make those decisions, which is why you should figure yours out before it is your time to go. The two traditional burial options include embalming the corpse and placing it in a casket and cremation. Unfortunately, neither is very eco-friendly. Embalming uses harsh chemicals and expensive caskets may seem to be a waste of resources to some. On the other hand, cremation uses as much energy as a 500-mile car drive and releases chemicals into the atmosphere. There are some green burial methods for you to consider, but you probably have not heard about these ones. 

Eternal Reef

Coral reefs have taken a tremendous hit due to climate change and rising ocean temperatures. However, with your support, you can become an eternal reef after you pass away. Of all the burial options, this is one that will allow your remains to nourish the existing coral and microorganisms there. This method takes a person’s cremated ashes and mixes it with an eco-friendly cement, making an artificial reef. Your relatives can help make the reef and write messages in it while the cement is still wet. You get to choose where your relatives place it, but the EPA requires them to go to places only meant for recreational fishing and diving. 

Alkaline Hydrolysis

While becoming an eternal reef, this next option may seem odd. This burial option is called alkaline hydrolysis but is also called aquamation. You probably guessed it; this option is like cremation, but it uses water instead. The corpse sits in a tube filled with water and lye, which then heats to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours. After that, all that is left is liquid and bones. They grind the bones into fine ash. This option uses 80 percent less energy than a standard cremation, and it does not release any chemicals into the air. While the other burial options are more readily accepted, this one is only legal in 14 states.

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Compost Material

You are probably thinking that you have already heard of this option. There are several burial options that include using your loved one’s ashes to grow a tree or other plants. In reality, ashes by themselves are not enough to fertilize a plant because they do not contain all the necessary nutrients. This method, on the other hand, creates a compost-like material from your loved one’s remains that is quite fertile. The corpse sits in liquid nitrogen until frozen. After that, sound waves beat upon the brittle body and break it into a fine, white powder. A vacuum chamber removes any remaining liquid, and the fertile powder is all that is left.

Burial Options Are a Choice

As more people become aware of their impact on the environment, more people wonder about eco-friendly burial options. There are many more than the ones listed above, but these are some of the more interesting ones. They use unconventional methods that are better for the environment. For some people, skipping the traditional burial methods and returning to nature naturally resonates with them. However, your burial is your choice and you can be as green as you want to be. Some people just skip the embalming or go with a sustainably sourced casket or urn. You get to choose.

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Lacey Jolley

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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