A Natural Burial: For When Your Departed Loved One Loved the Environment

Environmentalism is a driving force in many people's lives. There is no reason why such habits cannot be continued after death. If you have lost a beloved friend or family member and wish to give them a proper farewell that is in line with their green principles, you may wish to consider an entirely natural burial. It can also be the case that the recently departed in fact envisaged such a method for their burial, and it's up to you to ensure that their wishes are carried out. You will find that an increasing number of funeral directors are most accommodating when it comes to the concept of a natural burial. So what exactly is a natural burial and how does it differ from the traditional process?

No Cremation

Cremation is a no-go when it comes to natural burials. You might not wish to consider the impact on the environment when you're in a state of grief, but if you wish to give your loved one a natural burial, then a cremation is not the way to go. The process of cremation can release approximately 245 kg of carbon dioxide (per body) and 2 to 4 grams of toxic mercury. If your loved one lived their life in the greenest way possible, they would not wish to contribute to air pollution.

No Embalming

Embalming is usually an optional extra when it comes to a funeral service. There are some instances when it might be appropriate, such as the need for a number of mourners to travel for a fair distance to attend the funeral, which can cause a delay between the death and the funeral service. Embalming preserves the body and can be a necessary stage of the process if you opt for an open casket. Embalming fluids are not biodegradable, and as the body decomposes, these fluids can make their way into the soil. A truly natural burial must exclude embalming, even if this means that an open casket service is not possible.

Coffin Selection (Or Lack Thereof)

An open casket service might not be possible with a natural burial, as there is sometimes no casket at all. The casket or coffin must be entirely biodegradable for burial to be permitted at one of the many natural burial sites across Australia (ask your funeral director for the location of one in your area). Metal-lined coffins are not permitted, nor is anything that has been constructed using formaldehyde glue (which can leak into the surrounding soil as it degrades). Your loved one can also be buried in a shroud, foregoing the coffin altogether, wherein the body is tightly wrapped in natural fibres and then placed into the ground.

Burial Location

A natural burial takes place at a specialist site and not at a traditional cemetery. As the bodies will be buried with a minimal of covering (and only contained in a biodegradable coffin or a shroud), the specialist site requires a specialist license. These sites do not look like a traditional cemetery, and headstones are not erected. A small, flat marker stone can be laid (if desired), or the location of the burial can be noted using GPS for when you wish to visit the site at a later stage. You might also wish to plant a tree on the site as a long-lasting memorial. Your loved one will essentially be nurturing the tree from their final resting place.

A natural burial might not be the best course of action for everyone, but for those who had strong environmental principles, it can be a most fitting way to say goodbye. For more information about burial options, contact a local funeral home like France Family Funerals