How to choose a greener burial

We live. We die.  There is no getting around this circle of life.  A question that plagues most environmentally conscious families today is: how can I live and die while leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible? Can I still have a dignified burial/funeral and choose greener options at the same time? The answer is a resounding yes.

There are many things you can do to ensure both your burial and funeral (they are not the same thing) are environmentally friendlier than those of past generations.

Since it’s advisable that people plan ahead to prepare for their death, the question is, what can you do today?

Choose a Greener  Cemetery

There are a few major factors to look at when searching for greener cemetery solutions–the most important being pesticide use.  Burlington Memorial Gardens (at Dundas Street and Guelph Line) abides by strict environmental regulations and must pass an extensive yearly government environmental audit.  Their tranquil location bordering the Niagara Escarpment and the protected lands of the Bruce Trail means that they will always remain pesticide free.   The grass is left to be watered naturally and will lie dormant during the dry season returning to its lush green when the rainy season starts.  The native plants and flower beds are watered using irrigated pond water and the park-like setting is known to attract visits from local deer and the odd wild fox.   Visitors to Burlington Memorial Gardens are strongly encouraged to make environmental choices when it comes to their floral tributes as well.   Natural flowers won’t leave behind any environmentally unsound materials such as synthetics, plastics or wire, and are strongly encouraged during the spring, summer and early fall mowing season.

This casket uses unbleached cotton, and doesn't use any glue, metal or varnish.

This casket uses unbleached cotton, and doesn’t use any glue, metal or varnish.

Choose a Greener Funeral Home

Burlington Memorial Gardens also offers ‘eco-friendly’ funeral options through their funeral home Dodsworth & Brown.   Families wanting a greener funeral will choose recycled paper for their program printing, online guest books and obituaries, botanical-based embalming, and caskets made from all natural wood and cotton materials that use no glues or metal fastenings.

What about Cremation?  

Today’s cremation processes use natural gas and not fossil fuels for the burning process.  Is it perfect? No, but as with most green initiatives, the technology is moving in the right direction. Also, because there is a smaller amount of land space required for cremation burial, most families still find this to be the most environmentally sound option available.

In the end, whatever you decide, the best thing to do for you or a loved one, is to speak with a licensed Cemetery or Funeral Director to review all of your options.  The conversation you have with a professional will help you and your family make the most informed decision possible.

About this guest blogger:


Christie Chewka, Guest Blogger

Christie Chewka is a licensed Cemetery Director at Burlington Memorial Gardens and was born and raised in Lowville, Ontario.

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