tree and bench

Not a Taboo Anymore: Eco-friendly Funerals

In Green & Ethical Living, Life by eva.katona@yahoo.com8 Comments

This is a collaborative post.

I watched the famous “San Junipero” Black Mirror episode the other day. It’s so beautifully done and mind blowing, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. In this episode of the sci-fi series the story ends with the couple being buried in the reality. Whilst (given it’s set in the not so distant future) at the same time being uploaded into the “cloud” they spend eternity together in a man-made heaven: San Junipero. Never will I listen to the song “Heaven is a Place on Earth” again without thinking about San Junipero. 

So this scenario got me thinking. I asked my husband: what do you want to do after you die? And it does sound like a strange question to ask indeed, but I have my own idea, so I just wanted to know what’s his but he – just like a lot of people, understandably doesn’t like to think about it. 

In the Western societies, talking about the dying process or what happens after we die is still a little bit of a taboo. Hence a lot of people has no plan or arrangements in place. If you haven’t been through organising a funeral – there’s hard to know what to do. There are a lot of things to get sorted when a loved one sadly passes away. During this time, we look for support from our friends and family as preparing for the future can be tough. Heart of England Funeral Care have some useful information on what to do when someone passes away that may cover any questions you may have. Talking only about the burial ceremony, no one likes to think about it advance; however, discussing your wishes with your family members, can lift some weigh off their shoulders when the time comes.

So let’s talk about arranging a green funeral and the options that are currently available. 

tree and bench

Woodland Burial

This is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional burials and cremation. A natural burial ground or designated woodland burial site in larger cemeteries are what they use for this. The coffin is made of biodegradable material, either recycled paper, wicker or willow. No headstones are used to mark the place of the coffin, instead, trees or flowers are being planted.

Biodegradable Urn

These special urns essentially combine the ashes with the earth to help germinate a seed or tree also placed into the urn, using phosphate from the ashes as a fertiliser. People normally opt for a memorial tree of the loved one. You can order these and they come with all necessary items and instructions and these tree urns have no expiration date and can be stored for as long as you need to before the need to use it arises.

waterlily flower Eco-friendly Funerals

Eternal Reef Balls

An Eternal Reef combines a cremation urn, ash scattering, and burial at sea into one meaningful, permanent environmental tribute to life. They transform the cremated remains into artificial coral reefs or reef balls to support marine life. (Although I must mention here that cremation is very harmful for the environment, the process requires a lot of energy and creates air pollution. But with technology advancing, there are some greener options available.)

Turn yourself into a diamond

Ashes can be turned into precious stones and jewellery: our ashes can be tailored into something our loved ones will cherish like a beautiful ornament or even memorial jewellery.


  1. I think talking about your wishes is so important as it’s one thing less for a grieving family to worry about. I intend to donate my body to medical science

  2. I never realised there were so many options! There is a woodland burial near us which was the first I had heard of, but things have come on loads!

  3. Eternal Reef Balls sounds like something I would love. I know that cremation isn’t the most eco-friendly way of doing it, but the thought of being in a box underground – whether in a graveyard or the woodland, sort of freaks me out….it must be all that Buffy I watched as a kid!

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