Go Green. Go Green Funeral or Green Burial or Green Cremation.
Probably, you do not need to be a Greta Thunberg to know the meaning of ‘Go Green’.
‘Go Green Initiative’ is to make the world a better place. It is to save the mother earth from environmental hazards and encourage a sustainable development without jeopardize the nature.
While several industries and more or less every day-to-day operations must comply the environmental impact criteria or say Pollution Control guidelines. Then, Why Funeral should remain out of the purview of the same. Of course, not what do you think?
That is how, Green Funeral or Green Burial or Green Cremation comes into picture.
Today’s article – Green Funeral (Green Burial or Green Cremation) – The Ultimate Guide to Environment-Friendly Funeral 2021. We will also discuss the scope of the same in Singapore.
But, Green Funeral or Green Burial gains its momentum first in UK and then in USA. Let’s, take a look on the figure of cremation statistics in USA from 1975 to 2030,
Let’s, take a look on the figure of burial statistics in USA from 2005 to 2040,
Thus, we have found that cremation rate in USA is in a increasing trends over burial. Why so? Because, cremation or burial both of them may have the same environmental impact (It seems). And both can cause pollution at the same rate.
Now, there may be several reasons why cremation is becoming popular in USA or anywhere in the world over burial. But, no doubt cremation actually has a lesser impact on environment than burial. Cremation is also easier – that may be taken into consideration of course.
But, what is the valid point to relate the fact with Green or Natural Funeral. Yep, there is and we will explore the same in coming sections.
Fear of the death is a common phobia for many of us. Learning about funerals and burials can lead to fear, inconsistent decisions, emotional breakdown, and unusual behaviour. However, death is still inevitable. So in the end, we still have to face the end of our lives or our loved ones.
The sudden departure of our loved one is a process that involves loss, grief and adjustment. The basic aspect of funerals and burials is the public expression of our beliefs and feelings about the death of someone we once loved. He/She also serves as a mediator to meet the needs of our sorrow and pain; and get support so that life can be as happier and healthier as possible.
We live in a pluralistic and materialistic society with a number of contrasting social factors, constantly changing values, and different cultural differences, plus an aging population. The limited land for burial, have influenced our plans to find a simple, sustainable and economical method of disposal of human remains.
Moreover, an increased awareness of global environmental issues, especially climate change, has led to the launch of Eco-friendly movements in Singapore and around the world. The need to protect the natural resources and ecosystems of the mother Earth for the benefit of our present and future generations is the main reason behind the movement. It has also contributed to the need to develop the concept of Green Funeral which have a lesser impacts on environment and the Eco-Cemetery – thus shaping the concept of Green Burial.
What is a Green Funeral or Green Burial?
Green Funeral or Green Burial is crafted to have a minimum impacts on environment and with an aim to conserve natural resources. Green Funeral is also called Green Burial, Natural Funeral, Natural Burial, and Eco-friendly Burial. Thus, it emphasizes simplicity and sustainability.
In this type of funeral, the body is generally not burned, not embalmed with chemicals, or buried in a concrete container. It is simply placed in biodegradable casket, buried in a grave-yard to decompose fully and return to the lap of the Mother Nature.
The features of a Eco-friendly burial may vary, but most share common traits aimed at reducing the environmental impact of end-of-life activities. Generally, an Environment-Friendly Funeral avoids the following,
- Hazardous Embalming Fluids,
- Cement or Metal Coffin,
- Clothing made from Plastic or other kind of materials which not decompose easily.
Thus, natural funeral technically not use traditional embalming fluids. However, there are chemical-free Eco-friendly embalming oils which may be used as and when needed. These, essential oils decomposed in soils without any single sign of chemicals in the soil.
Typical Natural Funeral Options
Now, there are plenty of Nature-friendly funeral arrangements. And each of the arrangements has a good number of Eco-friendly options to consider. Like, do you want to get buried in a known location that your visitors know? Do you want to be cremated in a crematoria with air-cleanser installed? Do you want to have your ashes in a biodegradable urn or scattered in the sea (i.e. Sea Burial)? Or, the biodegradable urn should be buried with a Tree planted on it (aka Tree Burial). Do you want your funeral to be performed by a funeral home by a Green Funeral Home or take your final rest in a Green Cemetery?
Because of the plenty of environmental friendly options available today one must pre-plan his/her funeral and write it down with clause to have Green services after he/she passed away. The things you need to specify may be as follows,
- Funeral Wake preferences/ setup (Passages to be read, flowers to be used, , music to be played, visitors to be invited etc.) ,
- Choices for biodegradable coffin, urn, organic or non-toxic embalming oils, burial r cremation etc.,
- Whether or not have a funeral wake ceremonies with viewing?
However, we have found an interest topic with a checklist to measure how much green is your funeral. You can find it here.
Finally, if you want to take your final rest in the lap of Mother Nature and want to mixed with it there are few unique options are also available not exactly in Singapore but in the world as follows,
- The concept of ‘Capsula Mandi’ has its origin in Italy. In this process, the body is encapsulated in an egg-shaped container and finally a tree planted on it. Thus, decomposed human-remains feed the trees.
- There is a company in USA named Eternal Reefs which is popularizing the concept of Coral Reef Burial. They take the ashes after the cremation and create an artificial reef ball. After that, they add the same to a living Coral Reef, which in turns help to restore the marine eco system by attracting fishes and other living organisms.
- Celetis Memorial Spaceflights provide the services to scatter the ashes in the space.
Types of Green Burials
One of the excellent matter in case of a Green option of a burial is that many stones are there still unturned. Which means there is enough scope for your imagination and creativity to craft a funeral of an unique type. Thus, Environment-friendly burial, funeral or cremation are matter of art today.
Here are some types of things which may be used in the case,
- Biodegradable Caskets,
- Wooden Coffin,
- Cardboard Containers of dead body,
- Woven Casket/Baskets,
- Special kind of burial garments or say, an Eco-friendly biodegradable clothing,
- Tree Pods,
- Biodegradable Urns (Specially, designed for Green Cremation),
- Urns designed to dissolved in water (For sea burial and its going to be popular in Singapore).
Here are some more Green Options for a funeral,
- Burial inside a mushroom suite,
- Aquamation (Also called the Alkaline Hydrolysis),
- Tree Burial,
- Sky Burial (Which is not readily available in Singapore and illegal in USA),
- Sea Burial (Scattering ashes in the Sea),
- Green Cremation (A Crematoria with Air-cleanser/Air-cleaner/ Air-purifier installed in it).
Then, What is a Green Cremation?
Now, lets come to the point. Yep, we have concluded at the beginning of the article that cremation is easier and hence more popular than burial. And the world witnessing a steep rises in cremation cases over burial. We have represented cremation and burial statistics of USA as per Statista. Now, what about Singapore? In Singapore, the same phenomenon that preferring cremation over burial is also observed. The data of the few years may be as follows,
|% of Total Deaths
And, the cremation and burial trends as per NEA, Singapore is as follows,
Thus, we may conclude that like USA, or UK and some other places in the world Singapore also witness an increase in percentage of cremation over burial. Now, considering ‘Choa Chu Kang’ is the only available cemetery and space is a constraint in Singapore; The phenomenon is still well justified. Therefore, there is a plenty of scope of Green Funeral or Green Cremation in Singapore.
Green Cremation may turned out be the best Eco-friendly funeral options in Singapore in coming days.
Then, what the heck is Green Cremation?
Green cremation is a gentle and environmentally friendly alternative to fire cremation. As with traditional cremation, the body is turned into ash, which is then returned to the family; however, green cremation does not use a flame, which makes it more natural choice.
Mayo Clinic developed a revolutionary and disruptive technology for Green Cremation. You can explore on Green Cremation here.
Then, it is a matter of time that Green Cremation will start soon in Singapore. Air-Cleanser may be installed or flame-less latest tech can be adopted for that purpose.
Further, The Singapore Green Plan 2030 may enhance the Green revolution for funeral options in Singapore.
Why Choose a Environment-Friendly Funeral Option?
There is probably nothing new with the Green options for funeral. As in the beginning of the human civilization, we are dependent on the natural options for funeral. Even in Mid-19th century this type of traditions were so much popular and many cultural association there is a huge demand for it now-a-days.
Industrial revolution and tremendous breakthrough in Science may give us speed and easiness. But, that is not possible without harming the nature. Yep, Carbon Emission is becoming a challenge in survival of mankind in the Earth. That’s why, Green Index or say, Green Growth Index comes into picture to measure the actual sustainable growth and economy of a country.
Therefore, it is much more evident now why we a funeral should Go Green. Therefore, few major motivations why this type of funeral is necessary is as follows,
- Scarcity of Land: In a time of resource depletion and a lack of repositories, Green Burial offers an alternative to grave disposal and is the most widely used ash storage method today. directly on the ground or with the help of bio-urns in specially designated places. The same space will be reused after the vase is destroyed, resulting in ecological re-use of the land.
- Environmental Issues: Green Burial spots are preserved as herbal landscapes through trees, shrubs and flowers; in addition to being secure refuges to birds and different wildlife. Hence, there may be minimum environmental impact, valid ecological aims, conservation of herbal resources, in addition to upkeep and development within the fertile situations of the land.
- Spiritual Significance: This type of Natural options for funeral have spiritual significance. Most of us can feel the connection with the nature. So, in this case, one may think that he/she may return to the lap of the mother earth once again in death.
- Psychological Factors: A natural burial will be a quiet and comfortable resting place for the deceased and can induce a feeling of comfort and peace in the surviving loved one, thereby ensuring continuity of communication between the living relative and the deceased. Find a way to say goodbye to your loved ones in your own way. It also helps prepare for the end of life; and convenient and easy to visit. The green burial will provide panoramic views, replacing physical monuments such as plaques and gravestones. This attunement is designed to calm the mind in the knowledge that when the ashes of a loved one return to earth, this New Life will flourish. There will also be no more concerns about posthumous problems such as exhumation.
- Cost-Savings: This funeral type offer cost savings. The same aspect we will explore in the upcoming section. That’s why with respect to common funeral vs. the Green one, the later is always economical and affordable.
- Simplicity: This type of funeral is very simple. No costly setup or funeral wake or funeral possession is required. Most of the ceremonies done in the midst of green natural beauty.
- Awareness: carbon emission and saving the bio-diversity are becoming the great concern of the society now-a-days. This type of environmental awareness can be further motivated with this type of funeral.
Natural Burial Sites (Green Cemetery)
Eco-friendly burial stops soil erosion and allow protection of landscape and enables long-term reuse of the landscape. To elaborate, Natural Burial does not allow expensive upright tombstone or monuments. Now, individual graves are identified by a marker on the land at the head of the body. The markers used in this purpose may be wood, plaque, or natural rock and they are not typical concrete as generally used.
Some burial site of this types even does not allow physical marker rather GPS location and GPS devices used to identify the grave locations. To preserve the greenery, bio-diversity, wildlife, plants most green cemeteries cut personal plantings and wake decorations like flowers, wreaths, flags, chimes, balloons, and personal belongings inside or outside the casket.
How, the burial in this green option may be influenced by laws. Therefore, legal procedure may be varied from country to country and states to states. How, different types of Green Cemeteries may be as follows,
- Hybrid Cemeteries: As the name suggest, it allows ordinary funerals and green funerals as well. Green funerals are done in a specially designated portion of the cemetery. Hybrid cemeteries need to obtain a certification for not to use vaults. Thus, this type of cemeteries allow you to use Eco-friendly bio coffins made of soft-woods and shroud.
- Natural Burial Grounds: Natural burial grounds are very larger landscape allowing burial. The motive is to protect and preserve the natural landscapes by facilitating native vegetation and wildlife. Many sustainable measures took place in this type of ground through land conservation efforts and avoiding harmful fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides etc.
- Conservation Burial Grounds: It takes environmental protection activity to a completely new direction. Conservation grounds collect a nominal fees for the burial purposes. The fees then is used for land acquisition, protection, management and restoration. Actually, existing natural parks, critical habitat wildlife area, natural conservation spot are used for burial purposes known as Conservation Burial Grounds.
- Things to Consider While Choosing a Green Cemetery: Many restrictions and laws are there to govern the working procedure and policies of Green Cemeteries’ burial services. Many of these types of cemeteries do not allow heavy machinery or digging equipment to dig graveside. They only allow manual digging of graveyards. In addition to that, some natural cemeteries have strict policies regarding decorative elements allowed in the graveside. Unlike traditional cemeteries, these types of cemeteries allow plants or trees to be grown on the top of the graveside. It is something like a tree burial.
- Green Caskets: Green caskets generally made of wood, wicker, and cardboard. Green caskets are encouraged by most of the green cemetery. There are many new products in the market now-a-days available to cater the need of Green Funeral made from paper, cardboard, willow, sea-grass, or bamboo that can be broken down without any impact on the environment.
Scope of Green Funeral in Singapore
When the UK’s green burial process began in 1993, the number of green burials around the world has skyrocketed in recent years. Countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Europe have different definitions of the term green burial. In this context, Green Burial is defined as burying the cremated remains of the deceased on the ground in a natural setting and providing an opportunity to recycle and beautify the environment.
What you think? Yep, Singapore is Next. No-doubt. Scope is Green funeral in Singapore is wide. Considering the rising in the ageing population, space restrictions, population explodes, and the concern for environment.
- Existing Crypt Burial System: Existing system in Singapore is known as ‘Crypt Burial System’. As we already discussed earlier, due to several factors burial is almost avoided in Singapore. As a result, we will still need to concentrate on cremation only. After the cremation, the ash is collected and scattered in the sea which is known as ‘Sea Burial’. Or, the ash is collected in an urn and placed at a Niche in a Columbarium. However, existing Crypt burial system has many drawbacks and create hazardous environmental impacts.
- ‘Choa Chu Kang’ Space Dilemma and Relocation: In light of the recent events published in the article “Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Size Will Be Reduced by One-third to Clear the Way for Tenga Expansion” (The Straits Times, July 19, 2017), it must be recognized that the aging population in Singapore is increasing. And the growing need to accommodate future dumping issues. To ensure that demand does not exceed supply, it is important to use a potential alternative burial method and approach, thereby deciding to implement Green Burial in the Singapore context.
- Challenges of Implementation Green Funeral in Singapore: There are several challenges that may came into our path while implementing the same,
- Spreading Ecological Awareness,
- Socio-cultural Barriers,
- Multi-racial tolerance,
- Avoidance of Prestigious Funeral Wake,
- Space Constraints for Green Burial,
- Identifying the Burial Location,
- Installation of Green Cremation Tech,
- Adoption or Acceptance of New Concept.
Costs of Green Funeral Singapore Packages
|Opening and Closing of Grave
Thus, costs involved in a Green Funeral Packages Singapore may cost you around S$6000.00-S$8000.00.
Protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, conserving energy, and the credibility of green marketing claims are some of the green topics in today’s headlines that can influence consumers’ choices for green funeral products. As consumers’ values and lifestyles are reflected in their attitudes and decisions about products and services in the marketplace, including their approach to death and funeral, the popularity of ecological funerals is likely to rise.
You should understand that environmental friendly funeral and burial practices to serve eco conscious families. Because, They may sought for if your Funeral Home offers green funerals. Green practices include providing an alternative to chemical embalming, local green burial options, organic products such as biodegradable coffins, and ballot boxes, as well as other services and products that appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. You should also be aware of your local cemetery’s green burial policies, if any, and make sure you agree with state or local burial restrictions.
There are several “shades” of green possible when planning an Eco-friendly funeral. The range of green funeral options your firm provides are going to be supported consumer preferences, funeral parlor capabilities, local cemetery practices and regulations, the supply of green products in your market, and other factors.
Thus, we have discussed a mammoth guide to Green Funeral, Green Burial, Green Cremation, Green Cemeteries, and Green caskets with a special reference to Singapore.
So, do you want to plan a Green Send-off for your loved ones?