Maybe you did your best to live an eco-friendly life -- you recycled, rode your bike to work, supported the green cause. So, what better way to shed your mortal coils than with an Earth-conscious sendoff in a sustainable coffin? Sure, embarking on that next adventure into the great unknown may be an inevitability for us all -- but the environmental impact that usually comes along with burial certainly doesn't have to be. At last month's convention of the National Funeral Directors Association (a lively event, I'm sure), several companies showcased some new innovative new green coffins which are made from sustainable materials that biodegrade -- like recycled newspaper and wicker. The marketplace for such Earth-friendly final resting places, say manufactures, is a growing one -- and with a quarter of Americans considering a green funeral, it's no wonder why.
Darren Crouch, president of one such eco-conscious funeral products company based in New Mexico, explains the trend to the Montreal Gazette:
It allows families to do something a little bit more meaningful with their last acts. More and more people over the years, here and in Canada, have rejected traditional funerals. They don't want the funerals they saw their parents and grandparents have.
Crouch says he's seen business grow 30 percent each year since 1999, when his company Passages International was founded.
Of course, the most eco-friendly final rest is through 'direct burial', wherein a body is simply placed in the ground. Unfortunately, this ancient of method is prohibited in most cemeteries to avoid soil displacement, but so-called "conservation cemeteries" are starting to catch on where the practice is allowed. Looking more like a park than a graveyard, such plots at these cemeteries are often marked with GPS devices in place of headstones.
For the time being, pardon the pun, eco-friendly caskets just might be the best alternative to traditional burials. Cynthia Beal, who manages The Natural Burial Company which produces coffins made of recycled paper, choosing to have an eco-friendly funeral is like putting a green bookend on your life.
You listen to a eulogy and it strives to recap the highlights of a person's life. One of the most important things a person can express in their life are their values, and the value of caring for the world you lived in and leaving a mark of respect as you travel through your life is something that gets carried through even at the final moment.
While it's certainly not the type of arrangement people enjoying having to consider, at least with all sorts of environmentally conscious options available, it doesn't have to be a headache, too. After all, resting in peace is one thing -- but resting with peace of mind is another thing entirely.