8 Environmentally Friendly Burial Alternatives.. or 8 Options to the Boring Old Coffin

Today's funeral practices are not environmentally friendly. Between clearing land out to make burial sites, green house gases due to cremation, trees cut down to make caskets and embalming fluid which contains chemicals like formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents, death is not as natural as it should be. Funerals are detrimental to the land, water and air. The good news is that green funeral options continue to grow in popularity. Below are some innovative burial alternatives to choose from.


1. Biodegradable Urns

If cremation is your preferred choice then consider Journey Earthurn's biodegradable urns. Journey Earthurn, are engineered to float momentarily and then gracefully sink. Once the urn is on the ocean floor, the urn will naturally break down. Journey Earthurns are handmade using a centuries old paper making technique.


2. Arka Ecopod





Arka Ecopod is an ecological coffin made from compressed newspaper. The Ecopod weighs about 30lbs. It can carry a person up to about 253lbs and up to 6ft (183cm) tall. A specially designed webbing cradle makes is safe and durable to transport. The Arka Ecopod is suitable for burial ceremonies and has passed all regulation and emission tests.


3. Batesville Cremation Urns

The Reflections series of biodegradable scattering urns from the Batesville casket company are similar to the biodegradable Journey Earthurn above. When you throw them into water the urns floats for one to five minutes before descending into water. They then biodegrade in the water without leaving behind any pollution. Batesville scattering urns are made from unbleached pressed cotton and come in elegant floral design.

4. Compakta Coffins

Compakta Coffins are made from carton-board materials produced from unbleached pulp containing at least 60% recycled paper and all wood pulp is from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Only natural starch based glues are used in assembly. They do not use bolts, screws or tape to put the coffins together. Even the handles are made from natural woven cotton.


5. Ecocoffin

The Ecocoffin is made from recycled paper and cardboard is 100% environmentally friendly strong and comes in a variety of unique colors and designs. Pick for Ivy, poppy, autumn leaves, natural, wood grain or signature. Or if you choose Ecocoffins can create any image you choose with family photos, war decorations, personal tributes, etc.


6. Coffin Cover

This coffin cover is an innovative eco-coffin design that gives the higher quality coffin appearance of a nice elegant coffin for services without contributing to deforestation. Coffin Cover services contain a separate internal coffin that is made of a simple biodegradable material. The inner coffin is removed from the outer Coffin Cover prior to the cremation or the burial taking place. The low cost internal coffin is the only item that a family needs to purchase for the funeral because the outer Coffin Cover can be used again and again.


7. OnEarth Australia

OnEarth Australia is a company that manufactures attractive affordable and environmentally friendly alternative caskets made from 100% recycled cardboard. Paints and varnishes used are non-toxic. Caskets have been tested and approved by TestSafe Australia an internationally recognized testing authority to ensure to ensure structural integrity. So they will not distort or collapse when subjected to funeral type handling.


8. Promessa AB Ecological Funeral

The most amazing, in my opinion, of the green options is this one invented by Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak. Within a few days after death the body is frozen in liquid nitrogen. This makes the body very brittle. The body is then slightly vibrated which turns the body into a powder. A vacuum chamber is then used to evaporate away any water so that the powder is dry. The powder is then placed in a small corn or potato starch coffin and is buried to decompose within a few months. This reduces the environmental impact on water, air and soil compared to a normal burial or cremation.

Death is a tough subject to talk about, but if this is important to you let your loved ones know about your green burial wishes. Help them see that part of life is death. If it is in your mission to live green shouldn't it also include a green burial? Think about it.

For a fun look at some more unusual coffins, take a look at 10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Coffins.

Gloria Campos-Hensley
Green Blogger

Eco-Living at Gaiam

Mind-Body Fitness at Gaiam

Oct 31, 2007
by Casual Adventurer (not verified)

The oldest environmentally friendly methods

Though I think the methods mentioned above are more appealing to myself....
There is always good old fashioned burial without a coffin
The Parsees an Indian religious sect put their dead on alters to be consumed by vultures (A bird which they hold in particular esteem). While this method obviously uses no energy for the process.... and all of the body components are quite clearly recycled back into the natural energy cycle..... I can't see this method being that appealing to most folks.

Nov 1, 2007
by Claire (not verified)


its kind of gross to dissolve dead body powder in water...animals drink out of that and we swim in it...

Nov 8, 2007
by Han Solo (not verified)


Like dead stuff doesn't dissolve and wind up in your mouth anyway? I think we're seeing the Next Big Thing in instant energy drinks here, people! Sign me up!!!

Apr 30, 2008
by Anonymous

Soylent Green is People!

I love your biting sense of humor! ;)

Aug 6, 2008
by Anonymous

Why not

yeah everything is recylced really, you're likely eating parts of humans, and other waste that plants have absorbed.

What did you think? That your food materialized out of thin air, fresh and new? Nahhh, you likely have ingested other humans that have broken down into base elements several times already.

Aug 20, 2008
by Anonymous

Environmentally Friendly Coffins Or Biodegradable Caskets

We are specialize in woven wicker caskets and bamboo caskets.Our woven caskets support the weight attains 350 pounds,all of them are environmental protection.We have about ten kinds of different styles, Sure,we can make according to the clients’design or samples.

*Environmentally Friendly Wicker Willow Coffins Or Biodegradable Casket.

Each one of our coffins has been beautifully and caringly hand woven by one of our skilled basket makers, making each coffin unique and special.

Wicker is one of the few truly environmentally renewable resources. Our wicker products are hand made in china from material grown and cropped in licensed plantations.

More wicker willow coffins Or biodegradable casket.

products, please browse our website://www.wovenwickercoffins.com

Oct 23, 2008
by Anonymous

searching for easy access alternatives

My husband and I are putting together our will and our funeral wishes. We would like to plan everything and have it ready to go at any time. One never knows.
But although I am slowly learning that there are those who prefer more natural, less expensive and more personal methods of "burial," I don't know how to find what may be in our area. We don't want to have to have our bodies transported far from home.
any suggestions?