Going Green for Eternity
By: Ben Erickson
Ecoffins woven bamboo coffin
If you’re concerned about the environment and want to do your part to reduce the impact on the natural world, why stop when life ends? Green, or natural, burials and cemeteries are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional interment.
Over 2,000,000 people die every year in the United States with 30 million board feet of hardwood lumber, thousands of tons of steel, and close to a million cubic yards of concrete used for caskets, coffins, and burial vaults.
Green cemeteries are springing up across the country—from California to Florida to Maine—in an effort to reduce the drain on natural resources and provide a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional burials. Many existing cemeteries are considering adding a natural section as well.
In a green burial, the body is not embalmed, since the fluid can contain toxic chemical such as formaldehyde. Concrete or steel vaults are not used, with the body being laid to rest wrapped in a shroud or in an environmentally friendly coffin or casket. Graves are marked with a natural stone, tree, or shrub while some cemeteries use GPS devices to locate loved ones.
Ecoffins woven banana sheave and pandanus casket
EcoffinsUSA makes handcrafted, woven coffins and caskets from sustainable materials such as bamboo, banana sheaves, willow, and pandanus (wild pineapple) with the work being done in Fair Trade certified factories. They contain no chemicals, glues, or metal fasteners and will deteriorate and return to the earth in less than a year.