Green Burial Blog
help us spread the word about green burial so we all share in protecting our environment.
People are becoming more and more aware of the dangers of climate change. Depending on where you live, you may have experienced the changes first-hand, such as record setting temperatures in Arizona, extreme wildfires and drought in California and the west, and an increasing number of hurricanes in the southeast. Even though people’s awareness is growing, it still feels like anything we try to do has such a small impact that we wonder if it’s even worth it.
Here are some things you can do to have an impact on the health of our environment:
A vast majority of people are buried in a traditional cemetery when they die. In every town across the country, there are both small and large plots of land that are dedicated to this very purpose. While not every cemetery is maintained as well as others, the cost of maintenance can be significant, both in terms of finances and environmental; there are various other costs associated with cemeteries as well.
As the nation’s population grows, and as more and more land is needed to build homes and house the population, can we reasonably expect to continue burying people in the ground?
What Are the Costs of a Traditional Burial?
The Casket and Related Materials
The cost of a casket can range considerably depending on the material and other features. For a casket on the economical side, typically made of pine, while still providing a quality appearance, the cost could range from $500 to $1,000. On the high-end side, a casket could cost upwards of $6,000 to $7,000 or more.
There are also environmental costs of the casket, which include using trees for wood, metal for hinges and other fasteners, and various natural and processed materials for the cushions and lining inside the casket.
In addition, though not every cemetery requires it, there is also the burial vault. This is a cement or sometimes steel enclosure that holds the casket, protecting it from the elements as well as helping to prevent the soil surrounding the burial plot from sinking. The cement industry is a leading producer of carbon dioxide.
According to an article in the Berkeley Planning Journal, the United States uses 30 million board feet of wood (each board foot is 12 inches by 12 inches by 1 inch), more than 104,000 tons of steel, 1.6 million tons of concrete, and 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid.