What is a Green Burial?

Green burials used to be common practice in the 1800s but with advances in modern science and technology, they fell from popularity. Recently, however, green burial services have started to make a comeback. In today’s blog here at Bohlender Funeral Chapel in Fort Collins, we dive into what exactly green burial services are, why they are becoming more popular, and more. 

To learn more about green burial services or our other funeral options here at Bohlender Funeral Chapel in Fort Collins, don’t hesitate to contact our funeral home whenever you’re ready. 

Details of a Green Burial

So what exactly does a green burial service consist of? There are a few different answers out there depending on who you ask, but they all have some key elements in common. Green burial services are focused on having a simple and environmentally sustainable funeral service. Much of the time, this means that no embalming fluids are used, the coffin is sustainably made from a biodegradable material, and there is no concrete burial vault. This is because when you use embalming agents, vaults, and non-degradable coffins there are a number of consequences. The biggest of which is that your body can not naturally decompose and be returned to the earth to be used anew. Many people want their earthly bodies to have purpose and meaning once they are no longer in use. Being decomposed and used naturally within the earth is a great way to do so. 

Additionally, for an even more green funeral, people want to minimize their effect on the environment. This means using as few fossil fuels resources as possible. When you use cement for a burial vault, it takes quite a bit of energy and carbon emissions in order to produce the concrete and transport it to where you need it. And with the way traditional coffins are manufactured, it can take an extremely long time for them to break down and decompose. Biodegradable coffins break down much more quickly and naturally. 

What are the Limitations? 

In order to be considered a green funeral service, there are a few requirements that should be met. Some cemeteries may have limitations that make it so that some of these things aren’t possible, however, green burials often prohibit:

  • The use of formaldehyde-based embalming

  • The use of concrete or metal grave liners or vaults

  • The use of traditional burial containers such as coffins or caskets (unless composed of biodegradable materials)

There are also guidelines funeral homes must follow in order to meet the Green Burial Council’s standards. Standards set by the GBC include things like:

  • Offering the decedent's family the option of a public viewing without embalming (use of GBC approved post-mortem fluids permitted)

  • Funeral homes carrying at least three GBC approved burial containers

  • Funeral homes having at least one staff member with trained in eco-friendly funeral services

To learn more about the standards set forth by the GBC for green burials, click the link above. 

At Bohlender Funeral Chapel in Fort Collins, we are proud to offer our green burial services. If a green burial service sounds like something you or a loved one might be interested in, feel free to reach out to us.

Why Choose a Green Burial? 

There are a few reasons that people are choosing green burials more often rather than traditional burial services. For many people, it boils down to cost, the environment, religion, and simplicity.

Cost

Because there are fewer materials involved in green burial services, they are often quite a bit cheaper than some other funeral options. In green burials, you don’t need to spend money on things like concrete for the burial vault, expensive and intricate caskets, and embalming fluids. 

Environment

Concrete vaults require the materials to be transported great distances to get from the manufacturer to the actual burial site. This produces harmful exhaust fumes created from burning fossil fuels. The concrete vault also does not allow the body to naturally return to the earth, instead, decomposing in an isolated concrete box. Non-biodegradable caskets and coffins are similar to concrete vaults in this way because they take significantly longer to be decomposed and reclaimed for resources from the earth. 

Also, when bodies are not embalmed with formaldehyde, the toxic chemical is prevented from ever entering the soil. But, not only is formaldehyde kept out of the soil, it is kept away from funeral home workers as well. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogenic and can have severe consequences on those who are regularly exposed to it.

Religion

Different religions have different burial practices and sacred laws that dictate how a funeral should be performed. For many religions, green burials are often the easiest way to meet most if not all of the funeral requirements for a given religion. 

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or requests for your specific memorial service needs.

Simplicity

Many people prefer a simple, straightforward, and natural funeral service. Green burial services are some of the most natural and simple burial services you’ll find anywhere. There are no fancy vaults, caskets, or embalming involved. It is simply the celebration of a loved one and allowing life to naturally take its course.

Bohlender Funeral Chapel 

Here at Bohlender Funeral Chapel in Fort Collins, we are a family-owned business with generations of experience and we are here to make your life as easy as possible. To learn more about our services and for any questions regarding green burial services, or any other services, feel free to reach out to us at any time.

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