How to Find Green Funerals in Your Area
A growing concern for families all across the country is how to say goodbye to a loved one in a way that honors his or her lifetime—and also honors the planet we all share. It is becoming more and more apparent that our habits, trends, and traditions are not always the best for the environment, and any way we can shift our worldview to make more eco-conscious choices is a good thing.
Green funerals provide an ideal way to pay a lasting tribute to a loved one while also taking care not to put unnecessary metals, hardwoods, and chemicals into the ground. Of course, that does not mean it is always easy to find a funeral home with the “green” label – especially if you live in a more rural area or smaller city.
If you are ready to start searching for green funeral homes in your area, here are a few great ways to get started.
- Look for “Natural Cemeteries” and “Memorial Preserve”: Green funeral homes/cemeteries sometimes use their own kind of language to describe what they offer. These include terms like natural cemetery, memorial nature preserve, memory park, green burial preserve, conservation cemetery, and natural burial ground. Do not be put off if you do not immediately recognize the terminology.
- Check the Green Burial Council: The GBC is a nonprofit organization that helps oversee green burial products, supplies, and providers in North America. They have a Find A Provider page that allows you to search by area for GBC certified funeral homes and cemeteries. (The National Funeral Directors Association also has a Green Funeral Practices certificate you can look for.)
- Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA regulates funeral home disposal systems (especially as it relates to wastewater and the use of chemicals). Although they may not have a list of green funeral homes for you to choose from, you can make sure your choice is compliant with all national regulations.
- Call Local Funeral Homes: A funeral home does not need not be officially certified in order to provide eco-friendly alternatives. In fact, most funeral directors are more than happy to walk you through the latest “green” options, including everything from skipping funeral flowers to opting for direct cremation. Call around and find a home willing to work with you to make the funeral exactly as you want it to be.
You can also check with active environmental groups in your area, since they tend to have the most local connections. Although not every city or county will have an official green funeral option, you should be able to come up with a funeral that feels right for you, for your loved one, and for the planet we all care so much about.
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By Amy Johnson