How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Funeral

How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Funeral

More and more people are seeking to reduce their environmental impact nowadays. If you’re actively making greener choices in life, why not ensure the choices you make in death are eco-friendly too?

There are numerous ways to make a funeral more eco-friendly and, in some ways, they can make it an even more meaningful experience for both the deceased and those they leave behind. Here’s a quick guide to some of the eco-friendly options you might want to consider when planning a funeral.

What is a green funeral?

Green funerals – or eco-funerals, as they are sometimes known – are simply funerals that aim to limit their environmental impact. It is possible to do this in a variety of ways, but they primarily focus on using more sustainable alternatives to the materials and processes of traditional funerals.

While some choose to make their entire funeral eco-friendly, others may prefer to just incorporate a couple of green elements. Luckily, there are eco-friendly alternatives for almost everything you might need for a funeral, so there will certainly be something that satisfies your or your loved one’s wishes.


Many green funerals either find an alternative to embalming or avoid it altogether. This is because the chemicals used in the embalming process – formaldehyde, for example – seep into the earth, groundwater, and air once the body has been buried. They can also pose serious health risks for those who use them.

There are now greener alternatives to chemical embalming fluids that can adequately preserve a body for several weeks. These are often made from essential oils, so are biodegradable and fairly harmless to both the environment and those who carry out the embalming process.


Cremation does have many benefits, but being eco-friendly isn’t one of them. The process releases large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere and isn’t energy-efficient. If you or your loved one want to cut your funeral’s carbon footprint, consider a green burial instead.

Although cremation has a high carbon footprint, a person’s ashes aren’t damaging to the environment. That being said, there are eco-friendly things you can do with someone’s ashes – for instance, using them to plant a tree or choosing a biodegradable urn.

Green burial

Some green burials take place at a specific green burial site, while others are in a designated area of a traditional cemetery. These sites are often protected green spaces such as wildflower meadows or woodland areas.

Green burials allow us to preserve the beauty of nature and ensure green spaces remain protected and well-kept, which is extremely beneficial to the environment. People often choose to plant a commemorative tree instead of a headstone – this makes for the perfect spot to remember your loved one and creates a delightful resting place for them.

Sustainable coffins

While a veneered wood coffin is often the most popular choice, it isn’t the most sustainable. By choosing a sustainable coffin made of reclaimed or responsibly sourced wood, and/or biodegradable wood, you can ensure that your or your loved one’s funeral remains eco-friendly. You could even get a coffin made of willow, bamboo, cardboard, water hyacinth, or banana leaf.

Are you considering an eco-funeral? Whether you’re preparing for your own with a funeral plan or organising a meaningful send-off for a loved one, the considerate team at Callum Robertson Funeral Directors is here to help you arrange every detail. Contact us today for more information.

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