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Eco Funerals

Environmentally Friendly Funerals

So planning your own funeral is probably the last thing on your mind right now, but it is something that perhaps people should give more thought it. After all, planning a funeral for a loved one can be very traumatic, life changing and expensive.

Traditionally, a funeral is a ceremony that marks someone's death. Funerary customs comprise of beliefs and customs used by a culture to remember the dead, from the funeral itself to prayers, songs and other rituals undertaken in their honour.

What is a traditional funeral?

Although in different cultures and religions the service maybe different, traditionally in the UK, a person's death is usually marked in two/three stages:


Once the person has been placed in a coffin (or casket), close relatives and friends can go and give their last respects, and say goodbye. Alternatively, the person can be laid out at their home until the service takes place.

Funeral service

Traditionally mourners will be dressed in black as a sign of respect. A clergy from the decedent's or bereaved's church or religion conducts the service. A service may include readings from the bible or other sacred texts, hymns, prayers, songs. A eulogy is usually given by a relative or close friend to highlight happier times.


This service happens after the funeral service where mourners can give their last respects before the decreased is buried or cremated


After the funeral and burial service there is usually a gathering of the deceased's family and friends, which gives the chance for the mourners to recall memories of the decreased. Sometime a buffet and drink is provided.

What is an Eco-Funeral?

Some people want to be remembered by having a less traditional funeral, and it is more common nowadays for people to have 'eco-funerals'. Although some of the stages of a traditional funeral may remain the same, more environmental choices can be made in regards to the type of coffin you have and where you are buried.

Eco Coffins

There are many types of environmentally friendly coffins, which people can choose from. These may include bamboo, wicker, cardboard, wood from sustainable forests, biodegradable, to name just a few.

Alternative transport

The hearse that traditionally carries the coffin can be replaced with horse drawn hearse, or even a motorbike hearse.

Woodland burial

As the grave is in a natural setting, it is envisaged that as the woodland matures, it will be a haven for wildlife and flowers, which can the mourners a sense of peace. Many people like the idea of this. Many woodland burial sites will not supply double graves because it means unearthing and disturbing plants and wildlife. Some may feel that this isn't as environmentally friendly as cemeteries whereby arrangements can be made to have several people buried together, creating more space. A few months after burial, a tree can be planted to help encourage the woodland to grow. It is also important to know that many woodland cemeteries will not allow spots to be reserved.

Further information

For eco coffins and services check out

01273 746011

Natural Endings
0800 197 0401 (based in the North West)

01273 766620 (based in Brighton)

For more information about alternative funerals, and advice on how to arrange funerals, please check out these organisations:

Funeral Search

Natural Death Centre
0871 288 2098

For Woodland burials check out:

Woodland Burials
0800 374759

ADDENDUM - Up in smoke?

Taken from the Blog (And added to ITanic Vs. until we know)

Cremation or burial?

Despite most in the eco-sphere on this topic surrounding casket design (Cardboard, bamboo, etc), I must confess to having treated it as a bit of a niche thing, despite death, along with taxes, being a bit of a growth industry, along with the global population.

And that is a key consideration. Because if there's more and more of us standing on top of the earth, there's an ever more limited series of places to stick folk under it. And once we start fighting with the guys planting bio-fuel crops, it could get ugly.

Of course it already has to an extent. When I lived in Singapore over a decade ago, large numbers of ancestors were quietly, if rather unceremoniously JCB'd from their eternal slumbers and popped in an urn in a wall if they were lucky.

So pretty much my whole experience, including personally with my Dad, has been cremation.

But in the whole dental filling (mercury) pollution and simple combustion products (heat, gas) scheme of things, is it a good idea?

We're finding out.

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