What is a green funeral home?
Green funeral homes are champions at honoring people in dignified, sustainable, and gentle ways. Your body is precious and green funeral homes know it! Their entire purpose is to find gentle, natural ways to, as Carl Sagan would say, help the body return to “star stuff”.
Additionally, green funeral homes recognize that our star stuff should respect the planet from which it originated. In the great big celestial scheme of things, green funeral homes view the planet as the larger body of humanity. Thus, the planet is the larger body that they are also aiming to honor, transform, and celebrate for numerous generations to come.
They’re death care crusaders, forging ahead (sometimes into unknown waters) in the hopes that all deaths will be honorable- for the deceased and for the planet.
Choosing a Green Funeral Home
Choosing a funeral home, especially a green funeral home, may seem complicated but it doesn’t have to be. Making a connection with a funeral home that fits you and your family is an important part of life.
In general, there are a few surefire things you will want to find in a funeral home. It needs to fit your budget. It should employ people with whom you are able to connect. And finally, it must provide services and merchandise that alight with your standards.
But how do green funeral homes factor into that line of thinking? Green funeral homes step up the game in three big ways.
What is a green funeral home?
- A green carefully consider the kind of care a person and their family are given.
- They implement internal practices that reinforce a truly green agenda.
- And with everything, they consider the lasting impact they have on society and the planet.
Green Funeral Homes Honor People
With that in mind, let’s talk about the idea of honor in funeral practices! Green funeral homes are all about honoring people. Whether through a gentle bathing, a carefully thought-out shrouding, or creating a customized biodegradable urn, respect is at the forefront.
“Your body is your temple” hits home in new ways when thought about in terms of green funerals. The devotion to the temple, the sacredness, of the body is expressed in multiple ways. The greatest being how green funeral homes honor the dead and the transition from complete human body into… well, something else.
With that vantage point, the general goal of a green funeral home is twofold. First, to honor, celebrate, and return the human body to nature in a gentle and dignified way. And second, to remain viable and sustainable by using disposition techniques and internal practices that celebrate the planet we share.
Two Truths and a Lie About Deathcare
But how exactly do green funeral homes show that honor? The running misconception is that green funeral services are somehow less dignified because the body isn’t embalmed, placed in an expensive casket, or treated in the sterilized way traditional funeral homes have made people expect.
Instead, green funeral homes go back to the basics of funeral care. They are using the truly traditional funeral practices that originated out of love and duty. They bathe the body, dress it in things the earth can readily break down, and often surround that person with something beautiful like flowers or paper notes from loved ones. There is honor and celebration in that!
On the flip side, green products, and even individual green funeral practices, do not solely make a green funeral home. Green products, such as tree pod urns, natural fiber shrouds, and seagrass caskets, are used by traditional funeral homes to fill the needs of their more nature-loving or conscientious families.
Sustainability is Essential For A Green Funeral Home
However, they do not fully serve families that are looking for a path to a greener, more sustainable, final disposition.
To put it plainly, just because a restaurant has salad on the menu does not make it a vegetarian restaurant. To be a green funeral home you need something more. True green funeral homes put their money where their mouth is. For instance, they invest in sustainable products, build infrastructure, monitor environmental output, and have sustainable Human Resource practices.
Aside from green disposition types (like non-casketed burial or terramation human composting) and green products (like the pressed raw cotton gowns, called Wisps, that Return Home uses for their decedents), green funeral homes must internally be a place for sustainable, healthy, long-term employment.
Green practices for employee wellbeing create a sustainable, respectful, and conscientious work environment. These practices could be as small as breakroom composting bins or as big as having designated mental health paid time off. Whatever the practice, its purpose is to help employees approach the industry with organic, naturally progressing, and easily sustainable practices or ideas.
Organic Isn’t Just For The Grocery Store
Speaking of organic, it’s a core tenant of a green funeral home. Sometimes it’s the interactions between healthy staff and the families they serveand sometimes
it’s the raw materials they use to facilitate dispositions. Green funeral homes use many green products to facilitate disposition of the deceased.
The most notable products are thought to be biodegradable urns, wicker or seagrass caskets, and pods that help plant trees when remains are buried. For example, Return Home takes it a step farther and uses sustainably sourced, local, fodder to blanket the remains of the decedents for whom we care. We refer to these as “Organics”. Instead of looking for farmers who can supply the freshest organic kale or carrots, Return Home has had our eye on something less tasty but just as amazing.
We have gathered a lush array of organic straw, alfalfa, and sawdust to use as the perfect filler for our vessels. These Organics facilitate the terramation process. They surround the body, encourage a diverse biome (where the magic happens!), and combined with time transform the body into nutrient-rich soil. Our Organics, how they are sourced, kept, and used are a great part of what makes Return Home a truly green funeral home.
Green Funeral Pre-Planning
So, now you know the general whats and whys of green funeral homes. It’s simple, if you need funeral services, you’re keen on protecting and preserving the environment. Further, you don’t mind getting a little dirty (wink wink!)… then a green funeral home is right for you. They, just like people, come in all different varieties.
Places like Return Home are all in on the idea of sustainable, dignified, and gentle returns to humble beginnings.
At the core of it, these funeral homes exist for one specific purpose: to help. Green funeral homes want to help the deceased, the families they serve, the staff they employ, and the planet. Sounds good, right?
Plan ahead for yourself or your loved ones with green funeral pre-planning.