Is it possible to have an eco-friendly cremation?

Is it possible to have an eco-friendly cremation?

As we become increasingly aware of sustainability and reducing our personal carbon footprint, many people are beginning to wonder if it is possible to have an eco-friendly cremation.

Eco funerals, or green funerals as they are commonly known, are fast becoming a popular alternative to traditional funerals or cremations.

The impact of cremation on the environment

Although cremation minimises the space needed to lay bodies to rest in the ground, it still has an impact on the environment. This is due to the large amount of fuel used in crematoriums, resulting in millions of tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year. There are additional impacts to consider too. For example, when dental fillings are burned within cremated remains, this can pollute the atmosphere with mercury. However, there are alternatives being developed.

Bio cremation

Bio cremation consists of a process called alkaline hydrolysis, which uses water instead of fire to cremate bodies. Bio cremation goes by many names such as aquamation, resomation or simply water cremation.  The body is placed in a chamber that is filled with 95% water and 5% alkali and heated to around 160°C. The body is then aquamated, meaning that it is broken down and eventually refined into a fine powder where, much like traditional cremation, the remains may be kept by the family to storage or scatter. As no harsh embalming fluid or chemicals are used, the liquid left behind is safe and biodegradable for disposal. This process does not require a coffin either, which means saving natural wood resources.

Bio cremation is a newly developed method and as such is not yet available in the UK. However, this is likely to be the future of cremation due to the eco-credentials proven so far. Councils around the UK are currently considering and discussing the potential of offering this. As the technology is still in its infancy, it may be some time before this option becomes widely available in the UK.

Natural burials

Natural burials, are another eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremations. They aim to have as little impact on the environment as possible by burying the deceased in a biodegradable coffin or environmentally friendly shroud within a green burial plot. Often without a memorial plaque or marker in order to leave no trace on the land, the body is left to biodegrade naturally, with the coffin breaking down much quicker than a traditional wooden coffin. The body will not be treated with embalming liquid or chemicals beforehand either, to further reduce the environmental impact of the burial.

Sometimes, cremated remains can be scattered amongst natural or woodland burial grounds. This is all dependent on the individual policies of the natural burial site.

Depending on your wishes, there are many different funeral options available. For more guidance on planning your own, or a loved one’s funeral, Your Funeral Choice’s free funeral planning advice centre has lots of useful information and resources for you.

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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