Green Funerals: An increasingly popular tradition

As our awareness of the environment around us becomes more prevalent, people are turning to be more environmentally friendly in as many ways as possible - including funerals. Traditional Western funeral and burial practises can leave a big carbon footprint. Cremation is a more environmentally friendly option than usual burials, however it does use a lot of energy and releases millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Traditional burials use chemicals such as formaldehyde and lso bury the body on top of concrete. A traditionally embalmed body that has been buried in a casket won't decompose naturally and the casket can also take a lot of energy to make. Concrete vaults used for storing the remains of the dead are environmentally expensive due to the impact making concrete can have on the environment.

Natural Burial Grounds

Natural burial grounds are one of the most environmentally friendly ways to bury someone, with people eschewing the traditional embalming practice whereby the body is preserved with chemicals. Instead, a biodegradable casket is used, woven from wood or another renewable material. This means the body and the casket can both decompose into the earth naturally. There are now 270 natural burial sites in the UK and this number is expected to grow.


Resomation is another form of green funeral and is also known as aquamation or bio-cremation. This is a cremation process that emits no carbon dioxide, instead using water and potassium hydroxide and a large stainless-steel tank. The body is placed in the tank which is then filled with water and potassium hydroxide. The tank is heated for several hours, "melting" the body until the remains can be flushed into the sewage system. Some of the remains can be placed in an urn for family members to keep.

Memorial reef ball

A memorial reef ball is a unique option where people opt to have their ashes turned into a "reef ball" that is used to grow artificial reefs and help coral reefs and marine life to thrive. The reef ball has a textured surface for coral polyps to adhere to and a hollow inside for fish to shelter inside. It is often emblazoned with a water safe-plaque that lists information about the deceased such as their date of birth, date of death and name.

The Living Urn

The Living Urn is a fantastic option if you care about the environment. The creators behind the Living Urn say they "want to make a difference in the lives of others while at the same time giving back to nature." The BioUrn is their most popular option and is made from recycled plant materials that are put together by melting the materials and drying them with heat and pressure. No chemicals, glue or machinery is used, meaning they are much better for the environment than other methods. The Living Urn is another popular option whereby the urn is filled with your loved ones ashes and buried with a tree to create a living memorial. Trees are good for the environment and absorb carbon dioxide, supporting the planet as well as leaving a memorial to be enjoyed for generations to come. A third eco-friendly option is the Eco Scattering Urn that is made from bamboo, a sustainable resource and one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet. Other options include the Eco Scattering urn and the Flow Ice urn where ashes are placed in a box of ice that slowly dissolves in water, releasing the ashes back to nature.

No matter the urn you are looking for, the Living Urn has a host of beautiful, well-designed options that are environmentally friendly.