Alternative Burial Options
October 18, 2017
One of the most significant parts of end-of-life planning is deciding what will happen to our bodies after we die. Many may think that there are only two options: either traditional burial or cremation. But it turns out that there are several unique and alternative burial options.
Traditional funerals and burials can take a serious toll on the environment. Cemeteries take up a huge amount of land, and resources liked wood and steel are used to make caskets. Plus, embalming fluid often contains harmful and polluting chemicals like formaldehyde. In an effort to reduce their environmental impact, even after death, many people are turning toward green burials. According to the Green Burial Council, green, or natural burial “is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.” Typically, green burials involve wrapping the body in a shroud and laying it in a biodegradable casket made of materials like willow or bamboo.
From Death to New Life
While leaving a minimal negative impact with a green burial is a wonderful idea, it is actuallypossible to leave a positive environmental impact after death. Two burial options, the Bios Urn and Eternal Reefs, are transforming the way we leave our legacy after we die. The Bios Urn is made with 100% biodegradable materials, and is called “a catalyst for life.” Inside the urn, soil, ashes, and seeds mix together. When the urn is planted, a beautiful tree will grow, offering a special memory of a loved one that has passed away. This urn could soon convert our cemeteries into lush forests filled with memories.
Eternal Reefs transforms cremated remains not on land, but in the sea. The ocean’s natural coral reefs have been devastated in recent years, and artificial reefs have become a useful tool in restoring underwater ecosystems. Eternal reefs allows people to be involved with that restoration process, even after death. Ashes are mixed into natural concrete and formed into a large pearl-shaped reef. Family members can even etch messages or handprints into the reef, and take part in a lovely boat-side ceremony when they drop the reef into the sea. These alternative burial options serve as a poignant reminder that from death, new life emerges.
For more information
For additional information and links to other related resources, please visit End With Care’s end-of-life topic page on Funeral Planning.