How Much Does a Green Funeral Cost?
One of the biggest trends in funeral planning right now is the “green funeral.” Green funerals (interment options that are ecologically friendly and reduce an individual’s carbon footprint) appeal to people for many different reasons. The obvious reason—that it’s important to preserve the Earth for future generations—is one that most people cite.
However, green funerals also have the advantage of offering affordable funeral options to replace traditional burial. Because you’re avoiding many of the more costly steps of planning a funeral (a hardwood or metal casket, a vault in the ground, embalming, etc.), having a green funeral means you can not only save the planet, but save money, as well.
So, how much does a green funeral cost? Well, that depends on what you end up choosing as your final resting place and how you go about planning your eco-friendly body disposal.
- Burial in a simple wooden/cardboard casket (as opposed to a steel or hardwood casket) can save you several thousand dollars. Most traditional caskets will cost between $1,000 and $5,000, but you should be able to find an eco-friendly option or even a simple shroud for under $500.
- Choosing cremation instead of burial is one of the easiest ways to go green. Most full-service cremations can be achieved for around $5,000, with direct cremation coming in under the $3,000 or even $2,000 mark.
- A “green cemetery” isn’t always easy to find, but these facilities allow you to bury a casket without having to purchase a vault or grave liner first. Since these items run upwards of $3,000 on their own, you can avoid a hefty charge.
- To avoid using additional resources, most green funeral plans go without embalming, funeral flowers, or a visitation/viewing. Embalming generally costs around $800, funeral flowers can run up to several hundred, and holding a formal viewing usually has fees of around $500.
- Some of the alternative green funeral options might actually end up costing you additional money, since they are still relatively new and difficult to come by. Expect choices like resomation, having your ashes submerged as part of a coral reef, or turning your ashes into fertilizer for a tree to be planted to come with their own several hundred dollar charge.
Most funeral homes will also still charge you their basic services and transportation fees, as these are unavoidable costs. Because they have to coordinate the care of the body and ensure that all health regulations and safety codes are being met, funeral homes are still involved even when you choose something like direct cremation.
In fact, the only way to avoid most funeral costs while planning a green funeral is to donate your body to science. Because medical schools and other organizations are aware of the generosity of your gift, they’re often willing to handle the cost of the final cremation and/or body handling for you.