Green Burial Blog
help us spread the word about green burial so we all share in protecting our environment.
It can be odd having to make decisions about the end of your life that you won’t be able to see, experience, or know the exact details of. Even though you can create a will that explains in detail how you want your property dispersed to remaining loved ones, what you want to happen with your money and keepsakes, or how you want to be buried, there are many times when things just can’t go exactly how you wish or imagine.
When it comes to making decisions about how to be buried, one factor that should be fairly straightforward for loved ones to arrange is the type and material of coffin you want to be buried in. When making plans for after their passing, many people even choose to purchase the coffin ahead of time, making it exceptionally easy for loved ones to arrange the funeral in a way that honors their wishes.
But what type of coffin should you choose? While many traditional coffins are made with treated wood or metals like silver or steel, natural coffins are becoming a popular trend for those who wish to have a green burial. If you want to put environmentally friendly products into the ground, ones that will biodegrade much faster than treated wood, or will biodegrade at all, there are various materials to choose from.
Materials to Consider For a Green Burial
While bamboo coffins can cost upwards of $1,500, they are a beautiful option for anyone who may be weary of less sturdy materials. Bamboo is a highly sustainable material, seeing as the plant can quickly grow and some varieties can also absorb more carbon dioxide than it emits. The coffin is often made with a woven pattern and has a natural bamboo color.
Typically slightly less expensive than bamboo coffins, hemp can also create a strong coffin that is highly biodegradable and has a beautiful natural color. Hemp is becoming a very popular material that can be used for various items, such as clothing or even food.
Wool, Felt, or Cotton
Soft coffins made with wool, felt, or cotton can cost around $1,000 and can be loosely fitted around the body or they can be stretched around a sturdy cardboard to give it the typical coffin shape. A benefit of these materials is that designs can be woven into the fabric, such as leaves, flowers, or organic designs. They can also come in a variety of colors.
Cork is a material that is manufactured from tree bark and is used typically for cork boards or for wine bottles, but it works well as a coffin material used for green burials. Cork forests can be found worldwide, but many are in Portugal and Spain. Processing the bark from the trees doesn’t hurt them, the bark regrows, and can be processed again dozens of times within the life of the tree.
Willow trees are fast growing making them a great choice for a sustainable green burial coffin. This material, like hemp and bamboo, is typically woven into a wicker pattern, making it a sturdy and beautiful design. Most styles are made with handles as well, making it easy to transport.
Rattan is a type of palm that commonly grows in Southeast Asia and has a flexible wood-like stem. This material is also woven into a wicker design. Coffins can come in a variety of shapes and colors, and most are completely biodegradable.
When left untreated, wood can be a great natural material for a green burial. It’s when the wood is stained with chemicals that they are no longer an environmentally friendly option. But woods like cherry or oak are beautiful as they are, just make sure that the coffin doesn’t contain any metal fasteners.
Even though cardboard may not be the most visually appealing material, it is one of the most eco-friendly options. If you’re not sure about the aesthetics of cardboard, you may want to consider wrapping it in a naturally dyed cloth like cotton, which can give the coffin a much softer look and feel.
As you can see, there are many natural coffin materials options to choose from, making it easier than ever to go with a green burial. At EverAfterly, we are passionate about helping people make green choices for their burial and helping protect the environment by avoiding the harmful chemicals and materials that are commonly used in traditional burials.
We offer green cemetery plots located in Northern California and on land that is restored and protected through sustainable land management techniques. Together, we can protect the world around us to ensure that the land is clean and healthy for future generations to enjoy. Learn more about our green burial plots, and contact us today if you have any questions.