Environmentally sustainable or "green" funerals and burials.

There is a worldwide trend towards environmentally friendly funerals and burials.  Britain now has 228 natural burial sites, or woodland burial sites, which are owned by councils and private businesses.  The deceased are buried in coffins made from woven wicker, plantation pine or recycled cardboard. Gentle Touch Funeral Services encourage the use of bushland cemeteries  Bushland Funerals.

In a natural or bush cemetery, instead of ornate graves with headstones, the deceased is buried in a biodegradable coffin in a woodland setting.  When relatives and friends want to visit the grave, they will need to use a satellite navigation device to locate it.Australia's fourth "natural burial site" has opened in Lismore, in bushland attached to Lismore Memorial Park Cemetery..  Lismore Council Green Burial SiteWhen arranging a burial, the family can walk around the bushland and choose a site.I hope that more natural burial sites will be established all over Australia as the need for them is acknowledged.

The other sites in Australia are in Tasmania, Victoria and in Western Australia. As yet there is no natural burial site in Sydney. However, residents can ensure that their burial or cremation has less environmental impact by choosing a coffin made from a recycled cardboard product. (Available from LifeArt in Silverwater, website is LifeArt)  In Camperdown, Victoria, a new burial site has been established by Upright Burials, Camperdown, Victoriawhere burials take place in a vertical grave.

Some Ideas for Environmentally Friendly Death and Funeral Choices

  • Prepare a living will so that your next of kin will know what you wishes are should you need life support.
  • Organ and Tisssue Donation can mean life or sight to the recipient. If you wish to donate your organs, let your family know, indicate your choice on your driver's licence or register with the Australian Organ Donation Register  This site also gives a lot of information about organ donation.
  • Body Donation is another way to reuse the body. Scientific knowledge gained from medical research is a wonderful gift to future generations.
  • DO NOT EMBALM as embalming requires the use of dangerous chemicals which can poison the earth or pollute our waters.
  • Caskets and Coffins made from cardboard or simple wood are the most environmentally friendly body containers.
  • Cremation or Burial? Cremation saves the use of land but does use a lot of energy in the process. Natural  burial without a sealed coffin or casket is not yet permitted in Australia (except by permission from religious institutions). More information on natural burials can be found at the Natural Death Care Centre
  • Donations and Flowers. Instead of sending flowers, you can make a donation to a charity or organisation. Ideas include: donating plants to a local park - books on the environment to your school or library - donation to environmental group  supporting medical research in a particular field.

Green Funerals

Lismore Bushland cemetery




 Copyright Elaine Searle, Funeral Celebrant