What is a Green funeral?

Green Funeral

With the increasing popularity of finding new ways we can care for our earth, environmentally friendly burials and funerals help preserve our planet when our loved ones pass on.

These days we do everything in our power to recycle our plastics, eat locally sourced foods, cut down our carbon footprints whether that be with eco-friendly cars or getting out in the fresh air commuting by foot or bike. So why should that all come to an end when we make our final print on the planet?

Essentially, a Green Funeral is all about having as little impact on the earth as possible. So how does that affect a burial? Here are a few ways you can make changes to the burial…

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Green caskets

Your typical casket is made from wood and metals and cloths that don’t exactly decompose too easily. By going green you are choosing a casket made from sustainable products that are biodegradable. Commonly used products can include; bamboo, cork, organic cotton, seagrass or recycled cardboards. All these products decompose much quicker and less of an impact on the environment as they don’t release toxic chemicals into the soil.


A shroud is a long piece of cloth which is wrapped around the body and usually placed into the grave without the means of a casket. The cloth is typically made from natural materials such as cotton, linen or bamboo which decomposes with little impact. By using a shroud, you are minimalizing the amount of material being put into the ground offering a more natural burial. Shrouds have been around for hundreds of years and way, way back in the olden days they were the only form of covering used in burials before funerals became more commercialised. Using shrouds in your green funerals is a simplistic way to get back to those roots whilst being respectful of mother nature.

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Green Headstones

A green headstone is an alternative option to your commercial concrete or stone grave marker. Instead you can use trees, plants or shrubs to mark the place of your loved ones. This can be a beautiful way to symbolise their connection with the earth while keeping in touch with the natural environment.

Green Cemetery

Green or eco-friendly cemeteries are becoming more popular with nearly 200 green cemeteries in the UK alone. Some of these cemeteries engage in greener practices such as greener caskets and headstones, whereas some are far more stricter. There are places that won’t allow a grave marking at all which can sometimes be hard for family and friends who want to revisit the exact site of their loved ones. However, these green cemeteries can be wonderful unspoilt landscapes which can be a peaceful and fitting resting place for our loved ones to get back to nature and re-connect with the earth.

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Green Funerals are becoming increasingly popular with more people demanding an eco-friendlier end-of-life ritual which can be tailored to all faiths and religions. You can choose to engage in just one or all these options of going green in whichever way you feel most comfortable. It’s a celebration of their life and if protecting the planet was important to them, then these are great alternatives you can incorporate into your service.

Photographer Credit: Roshini McCartin

Jennifer Claire is the Founder of The Celebrant Directory and lives and breathes all things ceremony! After officiating big days for 10 years, she now focuses on giving you the tips you need to create your perfect celebration.

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