THE PHILOSOPHY OF GREEN FUNERALS
Natural or green burial is regarded as a statement of personal values for those who seek to minimize their impact on the local and global environment. We approach green funerals the same way that you would - how do we minimize the overall footprint of the burial?
People are genuinely concerned about preserving and protecting the earth for future generations. Naturally, they are looking for more ways to stay green, and are finding it is possible to stay green to the very end.
There is much that can be done to make a funeral green, even considering the many laws and regulations regarding burial. Green burials are feasible and gaining in popularity for several reasons:
Therese Rajotte, Founder, discusses Green Funerals
OUR APPROACH TO GREEN FUNERALS
We use hand made willow caskets for the majority of our cremations. Each one of our wicker willow coffins has been beautifully and caringly hand woven by one of our skilled basked makers, making each coffin unique, special and a personal tribute to a loved one. Willow is highly renewable, growing from the same crown for up to sixty years. Burning willow only gives off the same CO2 that it takes in within its lifetime so it is a carbon neutral solution. We do not use any chemicals, glues, etc. that release harmful toxins into the environment.
We have made arrangements with local cemeteries to use willow caskets for burial. We do not require the purchase of a outer container so this option is 100% environmentally friendly.
FUNERAL STATISTICS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT A GREEN FUNERAL
Every year we bury:
• 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid
• 90,272 tons of steels in caskets and vaults
• 2,700 tons of copper and bronze in casket linings
• 30, 000,000 board feet of hardwood, including wood from endangered forests, for caskets
• 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete burial vaults
Cremation is not environmentally friendly:
• The cremation of a single body requires up to 356 cubic feet of natural gas because humans are mostly water
• Cremation produces carbon dioxide and this exacerbates climate change
• Cremation produces sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which contribute to the formation of acid rain
• Cremation emits dioxin, which is one of the most potent toxins known
• Each cremation produces 1.6–8.5 grams of toxic mercury into the environment from cremated dental fillings (when buried with an entire body, fillings remain inert).
Statistics for US only. Sources include Mary Woodson, vice president of the Pre-Posthumous Society of Ithaca, New York reported in Mother Earth News, April/May 2003. Philip Donald Batchelder, “Dust in the Wind? The Bell Tolls for Crematory Mercury” in Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal, Vol, 2, No. 1, 2008. Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule
GREEN FUNERAL FACTS
1. Green Funerals Consume Fewer Resources: We intentionally look at ways to make the funeral lower impact. Examples include using fuel efficient vehicles, biodgradable materials, green caskets and other initiatives.
2. Green Burials Can Save Money: Another big benefit of going green is saving money. Lowering the costs of funeral prices is particularly appealing to those who are interested in pre-planning, but they can also help family members lighten the financial burden during an especially difficult time.
3. Green Burials Reduce the Use of Carcinogenic Chemicals: Traditional burial practices include embalming. However, most embalming fluids contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. While some embalming fluids are now being made without the use of potentially dangerous chemicals, it is possible to go a step further and provide for proper preservation and sanitation without the use of any harmful chemicals.
4. Green Burials Preserve Wildlife: When the trees go, so do the animals that inhabit them. Even the slightest shifts in the balance of an ecosystem can have negative and long-lasting effects on the environment. By contrast, green burials follow a strict set of practices that ensure burials do not harm ecosystems, but facilitate their restoration.
For these reasons and more, green burials are making it possible to honor the deceased without further impacting our natural resources, producing unnecessary carbon emissions, or harming workers at any stage of the funeral process.
OUR GREEN PHILOSOPHY
At Elegant Tributes we are the greenest Funeral Home in Southern Alberta. We have incorporated a small footprint philosophy in how we approach our business. This approach is more friendly to the environment and it is an Elegant way to do business!
Our planning center is 80% smaller than most funeral homes. Instead of maintaining a large chapel, big garages and other infrastructure - we use buildings that are already in use like hotels and restaurants. The result is a small cozy atmosphere that has the feeling of being at home rather than a big institution.
We chose to import from Europe the fuel efficient Mercedes Benz hearse. This is a smaller and lighter vehicle compared to the large Lincolns and Cadillacs that are commonly used. The Mercedes Benz legendary reliability and durability means we can use the vehicle for a longer period than the industry average.
We have lots of ideas on how we can be even more Green. The nearest term plan is to install solar panels on our roof to reduce our electricity consumption.
We promise to listen to your ideas and do our best to make them happen. You can trust us to respect your Green Values!