Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Burials are a tremendous drain on natural resources. According to Billie Grable, Plotting a Green Burial, MSN Lifestyle:
Each year, cemeteries across the United States bury an estimated 30-plus million board feet of hardwoods, 104,272 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze, and more than 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete—all used to build the caskets, grave liners and vaults designed to “protect” your loved one from the elements of nature.
Casket manufacturers are listed on the EPA’s top 50 hazardous waste generators list due to chemicals such as methyl and xylene used in the protective finish sprayed on the caskets exterior.
To make burials more environmental friendly, you may wish to consider the following:
- Cremation -- Although generating air pollution and consuming power, cremation is probably more friendly to the environment than burial.
- Burial in eco-cemetery -- Burial in a biodegradable casket allowing the body to decompose naturally and return to nature fertilizing the surrounding landscape.
- No embalming -- Avoid embalming which contrary to popular belief is not legally required.
Special thanks to Sara Hudman (May 2008 J.D. Candidate, Texas Tech University School of Law) for bringing the green burial movement to my attention.