Green Endings – eco-funerals

Spookily, just after I had updated a page on GreenChoices about green burials, I turned on the radio to find a new woodland burial ground being opened in an episode of ‘The Archers’. There is certainly a growing interest in greener funerals, from wicker or cardboard coffins to woodland burial sites. I can remember when I ran the Countryside Trust on behalf of the Countryside Agency, receiving a funding application for a Green Burial site, it opened up lots of areas of discussion – the pro’s and cons of cremation and burial, impacts on the environment, land use etc. I know the Woodland Trust considered the feasibility of a woodland burial scheme, but decided not to proceed. However, there are now over 200 green burial sites around the country, and a growing choice of more environmentally friendly coffins, such as those made of recycled newspaper . I know death and dying aren’t subjects many of us a comfortable discussing. If you can plan your choices or those of your loved ones, in advance it is helpful; searching around for wicker coffins at a time of grieving can be difficult, and if they are imported from China are they a green choice? Better to have done your research first. When my father died last year I was surprised how much there was to organise and how many decisions we had to make – if you throw in is “environmentally friendly?” at this stage it can be too late – it’s hard to think about reducing the crematoriums emissions by the choice of clothing, or the handles on the coffin, but they do have an impact. If a green life is important then a green ending should be too!