Go green for life … and beyond

By • Published: April 11th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s a subject most of us don’t want to face … what will happen to our bodies after we die. But every family ultimately will make these decisions … and what many people don’t realize is that there is a third option besides cremation and traditional burial.

Green burials are cheaper, more organic and better for the environment than standard burials — yet most people have never heard of them.

Green burials allow the body to decompose naturally, without the standard use of embalming fluid, which can seep into soil and groundwater. In a green burial, a simple shroud or biodegradable casket replaces the traditional coffin.

Many green burials start at about $2,000, while the average cost of a traditional funeral is around $8,000. Cremation is less expensive, but it too has an environmental impact. Cremation burns fossil fuels and emits 5,000 pounds of mercury from our dental fillings alone each year.

Many funeral homes now offer eco-friendly alternatives, and an increasing number of cemeteries across the country are exclusively green. The latter are often set in a preserve or a park. Many even opt to plant a tree instead of using a regular headstone. (Pause)

The team behind the Infinity Burial Project sees green burial as simply the beginning. Green burial doesn’t address the existing environmental toxins in our bodies, which we filter and store throughout our lifetimes, and which seep into the earth to continue the cycle. The project is working on a burial suit seeded with mushrooms that could decompose those toxins. If successful, the suits would turn dead tissue into clean compost.

Years from now, our traditional funerals may look very different than they do today. But for now, a green burial helps to ensure your last impact on the world is a positive one.