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Green Funeral Options

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posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:17 PM
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I am not one to rally around the "go green!" mantra, but the amount of waste present in funerals really struck me:


Each year, cemeteries across the US bury approximately:

* 30 million board feet (70,000 m³) of hardwoods (caskets)
* 90,272 tons of steel (caskets)
* 14,000 tons of steel (vaults)
* 2,700 tons of copper and bronze (caskets)
* 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete (vaults)
* 827,060 US gallons (3,130 m³) of embalming fluid

www.imortuary.com...

After one-time use coffee filters, that has got to be the biggest source of waste ever!

The dead are dead. They do not care what you bury them in... I thought I would examine some "green" burial options.

Here is an article from about.com:
seniorliving.about.com...


One example of a green burial involves preparing the body for burial without embalming fluid or other ecologically harmful chemicals, using a biodegradable casket made from natural materials like willow, bamboo, or paper, and burying the casket in a land preservation site. Trees, shrubs and flowers are planted nearby and over time the body becomes part of the green environment.

Another green burial option is offered by a company called Eternal Reefs, which creates living memorials that also help to restore fragile reef ecosystems. A person’s cremated remains are mixed with the reef material and then placed in the ocean. This artificial reef attracts marine life and becomes a new reef over time, as well as a “permanent living memorial” to the deceased.



From an MNBC article:
www.msnbc.msn.com...

"It's the one certainty that we know isn't going to change, that we deal with on a daily basis," says Barb Milton with Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers.

Milton is talking about death. But she says what is changing is the way people are deciding to rest in peace.

"I also kind of refer to it as retro-burial because it's going back to basics," says Milton.

Milton says the funeral industry is running into more eco-friendly customers who want to go green even when they're going to their final resting place.

"You get back to the earth faster," explains Milton.

And to do that, green customers are considering wooden caskets or even ones made of wicker. But there's more to a green burial.

"Nowadays, with refrigeration and dry ice and things like that, the body can be preserved in different ways instead of using formaldehyde-based embalming products," says Milton.

Plus, there's no burial vault inside the ground to protect the casket.

"Ideally everything is going to go back into a natural state," explains Milton.

And above ground, there are no tombstones to mark the grave.

"You might be near the big oak tree or you might be near the path that leads back in," says Milton.



This is a rather sci-fi choice:
www.greendaily.com...

What if, instead of burying or cremating dead bodies, we dissolved them in lye and flushed the liquid down the drain?

Well, my friend, get used to the idea: it could be the wave of the future. The process is called alkaline hydrolysis, and it uses lye and 300-degree heat, along with 60 pounds of pressure per square inch, to destroy bodies in huge cylinders that resemble iron lungs.

To date, no mortuaries use the process, and only two medical centers practice it, but only on cadavers donated to science. Although some places, including the Mayo Clinic, use it on human medical waste and animals.




Critics say the process is too much like a horror movie, but others contend that, when you're dead, you won't care how your body is disposed of.

The resulting liquid from the process has a strong ammonia smell and is unsightly, but isn't harmful to the environment like crematorium emissions and won't leech into the ground and into our water system like some resin-painted coffins and embalming fluids.

Creepy, yes...but an undeniably greener choice.



Sky burials, probably my preferred method. Not performed anywhere much anymore, except Tibet. (Interstingly I read somewhere that the government is attempting to outlaw sky burials there because it reveals if the desceased have not been treated humanly while imprisoned)
www.skyburial.org...

A great and sacred tradition is the “sky burial” in which God’s wonderful and beautiful vultures nourish their bodies by re-cycling the remains of those whose souls have passed to the “great beyond”. Although “sky burials” are not yet accepted practice for human funerary practices, sky burials are allowed for pets before burial at America’s first “green” family cemetery.



Well I hope this is food for thought, ATS! Comments welcome.




posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:25 PM
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My body will be cremated and tossed wherever, but I love some of these options! Especially the Reef one.

After dealing conventionally with my parents' burials, it's awful to waste that much material.

Great thread! Thanks!



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:29 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Yeah I understand that they are supposed to be a rememberance of the dead but funerals just strike me as such a waste.

I would rather that my dead body be put to good use of some kind, that is why I would have a sky burial, but maybe there will be more options by the time I kick it.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:44 PM
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I was immediately drawn to this thread as just yesterday I had been flipping thru a mixed media site online and ran across another option of Environmentally friendly coffins. The site offers many style options for the savvy consumer.




Environmentally sympathetic and certified non-toxic, our Compakta cartonboard coffins are suitable for both burial and cremation.


Creative Coffins Website
I see myself more having my ashes shot into space only to disintegrate on re-entry but this is a neat option too



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:52 PM
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This thread deserves a flag, and it just got one from me.

I have always thought the ritual of burial was somewhat silly. I can understand the funeral, as it helps those left behind to deal with their loss. I can understand leaving a marker behind, so those in future generations may know where they came from. What I cannot understand is the idea of paying $20,000 or more out of one's estate to take up permanent residence in a box in a cemetery that is specifically designed NOT to rot away.

Ironically, it is only the Politically Correct generations that have instituted the concept of inert caskets and concrete vaults, now required by law in most places in the US so as not to 'contaminate' the surrounding ground with one's remains. I never understood how a corpse could be considered so toxic... but this requirement would be a definite problem for those who would wish to have their remains rot back into the soil as nature requests of all such objects.

It's very easy to talk about 'going green' (or as I like to call it, using common sense
), but it's far more difficult to walk the walk. Years ago I walked that walk and decided my final wishes:

I do not want to be stuffed into some overcrowded cemetery with a well-manicured turf and plastic flowers dangling everywhere. No, I have left instructions to be cremated and the ashes to be scattered by air across this mountain I call home, and have called home for the vast majority of my lifetime. I want a tombstone, but nothing fancy... just a simple piece of rock with my name and birth/death dates erected at the edge of the mountain, should posterity wish to know about me.

I have lived my years out in the shadow of this stretch of virgin terrain. It has protected me from storms and winds and recently, a tornado. It has given me solace and peace of mind, as well as a visible link to my God: a sad reminder of my spiritual shortcomings, but a necessity nonetheless. It has fed me from the garden it produces and the fruits and nuts that abound here. And finally, it has listened to my cries of sorrow and shouts of victorious triumph. In return, I have cared for it, and protected it from the ravages of human society. I will pass the deed on to the next generation, with instructions to follow my lead as I followed my father's, and leave this mountain in the same condition it passed to me.

So I feel it is only fitting that I return that which is left to it as well. Death is the separation of body and soul when the body can no longer contain the soul. At that point, the body is waste. It should be treated as such, not as some toxic substance.

OK, maybe I could handle one epitaph on the stone: Here lies The Redneck, still a part of the beauty all around you.



TheRedneck



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:33 PM
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You would think I'd have something enlightening to say about a subject like this as it is my profession but I really don't. All a Funeral Director can do is offer options to a family and let them decide how to go about taking care of a loved one. Funerals are for the living more so than the deceased and a society is sometimes judged by the way they treat their dead.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:36 PM
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Originally posted by Cheyracingchick
I was immediately drawn to this thread as just yesterday I had been flipping thru a mixed media site online and ran across another option of Environmentally friendly coffins. The site offers many style options for the savvy consumer.




Environmentally sympathetic and certified non-toxic, our Compakta cartonboard coffins are suitable for both burial and cremation.


Creative Coffins Website
I see myself more having my ashes shot into space only to disintegrate on re-entry but this is a neat option too


I've considered being creamated and having the ashes mixed into fireworks, then shot off, but I don't know how feasible that woul dbe.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:38 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Very touching Redneck.

That could only be more poetic if you were actually born on that land



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by The Undertaker
You would think I'd have something enlightening to say about a subject like this as it is my profession but I really don't. All a Funeral Director can do is offer options to a family and let them decide how to go about taking care of a loved one. Funerals are for the living more so than the deceased and a society is sometimes judged by the way they treat their dead.


It seems that our society likes to pretend that the dead are still around (physically) somehow. Put their stuff away somewhere, prevent the body from decaying as best we can, act like they could step back into their lives.

I wonder what that says about us. It is ironic to me because we are a largely Christian nation, on the whole believing that most of us will go to heaven after physical death, yet we seem absolutely uncomfortable with admitting that death happens at all.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:44 PM
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I really enjoyed that article. As Someone Who Is Trying To Live The Greenest He Can I Never Really Thought About Making Sure My Funeral Was Green As Well, I Just Know I Want To Be Cremated, Although At Just About 27 I'm Sure If I Live Out A Healthy Life There Will Be Some Pretty Amazing New Ways But Til Then I'll Be Going With The "Eternal Reefs" Option



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:50 PM
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Originally posted by spiritualkj
I really enjoyed that article. As Someone Who Is Trying To Live The Greenest He Can I Never Really Thought About Making Sure My Funeral Was Green As Well, I Just Know I Want To Be Cremated, Although At Just About 27 I'm Sure If I Live Out A Healthy Life There Will Be Some Pretty Amazing New Ways But Til Then I'll Be Going With The "Eternal Reefs" Option


Yeah that brings a whole new meaning to "Sleeps with the Fishes."



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:56 PM
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reply to post by asmeone2
 


Not sure if their still doing it but a company called Celestis, will take a portion of your cremated remains and launch them into space. The capsules of cremated remains are then released into orbit where in time you will fall back to earth as a shooting star. Gene Rodenberry and Timothy Leary went out that way. You can have a portion of your cremated remains made into a synthetic diamond if you want as well.

[edit on 25-1-2009 by The Undertaker]



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 03:58 PM
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Coming from experience, don't open the bag of cremated remains with the window down in an airplane. Cough, cough, it doesn't work that way. You have to bag them and chuck the whole bag out the window. Not very green now is it?



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:04 PM
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Originally posted by The Undertaker
reply to post by asmeone2
 


Not sure if their still doing it but a company called Celestis, will take a portion of your cremated remains and launch them into space. The capsules of cremated remains are then released into orbit where in time you will fall back to earth as a shooting star. Gene Rodenberry and Timothy Leary went out that way. You can have a portion of your cremated remains made into a synthetic diamond if you want as well.

[edit on 25-1-2009 by The Undertaker]


I know about thembut I didn't think it would be fair to call that green, since it's an awful lot of rocket fuel used getting the remains up there.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:13 PM
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Yep I agree, not green at all. I kind of got off subject there with options vs. green alternatives.
What is "Green" and how is it defined? All alternatives seem to infringe on someone or somethings rights, comforts, health, or whatever people or the man wants to claim.
Has a clear definition of "Green" been established anywhere?

[edit on 25-1-2009 by The Undertaker]



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:17 PM
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Indeed a lot of waste.

I would like to be shot in space and burn up in the atmosphere when I re-enter.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:28 PM
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Originally posted by The Undertaker
Yep I agree, not green at all. I kind of got off subject there with options vs. green alternatives.
What is "Green" and how is it defined? All alternatives seem to infringe on someone or somethings rights, comforts, health, or whatever people or the man wants to claim.
Has a clear definition of "Green" been established anywhere?

[edit on 25-1-2009 by The Undertaker]


I was thinking of green in loose terms here: A burial that is "natural" in that it does not put chemicals into the ground, does not include materials that cannot be broken down by the environment in a timely matter, and does not involve extrenous wasted materials.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:37 PM
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The Orthodox Jewish communities traditions of burying a loved one wrapped in a shroud and buried in a wood casket made with no nails within 24hrs is about as clean as it gets. I'm sure there are other cultures that do the same.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:42 PM
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Some videos for you:

Green Funeral:



Another one:



SKy Burial ritual:



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 05:32 PM
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I wasn't aware of the sky burial, thanks for posting that. Eventually we all end up back to the earth. Some as dust, others as bird crap. Consumption happens to a deceased in an at sea burial as well eventually. For sanitary reasons we have stopped this form of disposition. Some dudes arm falling out of the sky would ruin a 4th of July picnic but probably make .line news here in the states.



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