The demand for green funerals is growing

Cast your mind back to 1969. The Woodstock music festival is being held at Max Yasgur’s farm in New York State. Pete Townsend of the Who is singing “Hope I die before I get old” It’s the height of the 1960’s counter culture. The hippie movement that started in the United States changed the world for ever; anti war protests, vegetarianism and environmentalism all flourished in this seminal decade.


Fast forward 42 years and the baby boomers have reached old age and are passing away. The old ways of dealing with death are being challenged. No longer do people have the family undertaker who calls to the home after a death and deals with everything. People are also questioning the often impersonal, often hurried cremations held in local authority crematoria and want something more, so much so, that the natural death movement will become a force in health politics in the years ahead.


It’s not just about death. It’s about how you chose to die, with people opting for their practical, spiritual and emotional needs being met in a supportive atmosphere, not by high tech medical interventions designed to prolong life at any cost, without any regard to the patient’s quality of life.


The demand for green funerals is growing, and there is now also the option to pre pay for your funeral, planning everything in advance.


As concerns about the environment loom larger in our daily lives, more and more people are choosing ecologically conscious funerals. These use natural, biodegradable coffins that have a minimal impact on the environment, whether cremation or burial has been chosen. Many clients take their green funeral a step further too, and opt to be buried in a woodland burial ground rather than in a traditional and increasingly overcrowded cemetery. The excellent Natural Death Handbook lists all the natural burial grounds in the UK, and the Natural Death Centre’s website also provides a full listing.


Families increasingly choose coffins made entirely from natural, eco friendly materials such as cardboard, wicker, bamboo, wool or even recycled paper with handles made from natural fabric such as woven cotton. Many of these coffins can be painted and decorated by the deceased’s loved ones.


Should you choose a woodland burial the deceased is laid to rest in a beautiful location in a natural and peaceful location amongst the trees.  To mark the grave, you can plant a tree, sow wild flower seeds or even build a bird box. To make the funeral even more special you can always add extra personal touches; how about a walking funeral, a horse drawn hearse or even go to your final resting place in style with a New Orleans style jazz band or a piper.


An option worth considering is pre planning your green funeral today which can take away the financial and emotional burden from your family at the moment when they are least able to cope. Sorting out the arrangements in advance means you’re guaranteed the funeral you’d like, and more importantly, you’re loved ones are spared the additional distress of organising and paying for it.


Whilst pre arranging your funeral, you are assured that the significant emotional strain that your family and loved ones will bear, whilst trying to second guess the send off you would have wanted is avoided ,and also trying to arrange it at a time when they can least cope, is completely removed. By completing a simple application form you can select-


  • Where the service is to be held
  • If you want a religious, humanist or other service
  • Readings, poems and music
  • Whether you wish to be buried or cremated
  • Your coffin type, be it willow, wicker, cardboard, pine, bamboo, banana leaf
  • A biodegradable urn


Pre paying now will save you, you family or your estate a great deal of money. Bought at today’s prices, the Funeral Director’s costs are guaranteed no matter when it is needed or how much the costs of a funeral have risen in the mean time.


The costs of funerals have historically increased above the normal costs of inflation and this is a theme that is predicted to continue. A funeral costing just £850 ten years ago would cost nearer £2,800 now. It is impossible to say exactly what the cost might be in five or ten year’s time.


Pre paid plans can be purchased outright or by convenient monthly instalments over a period between one to five years (and longer by special arrangement). The service provided by the funeral director in respect of your planned wishes, will not cost your family any more money, whenever it is ultimately needed.  The plan will cover 100% of the costs of the funeral director’s services. In some cases however your estate may be asked for an additional contribution towards “disbursements” (usually payments to third parties such as cemetery or cremation fees, medical fees or musicians for example).


When purchasing a green funeral plan your money is invested in a Green Trust which only makes ethical investments. The funds trustees are required to ensure that the funds are available to cover the cost of the funeral services when required. Since 2002, Funeral Planning became a regulated activity by the Financial Services Authority.


Remember, your funeral can be a solemn affair or a celebration of your life, so, throw off the shackles and plan your funeral as you would any other celebration. Choose in advance where you’d like to be laid to rest or have your ashes scattered, choose your songs, your favourite poems, the venue and ensure everyone comes to celebrate your life not mourn your death. Have fireworks, a jazz band or a good old fashion wake. Make it a joyous day for those you leave behind, because remember, it’s the only one you’re going to have, so make it a good one!


Courtsey of Cath Burgess

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