Natural and Environmentally Friendly Funerals

Environmentally Friendly Funerals, Environmentally Friendly Ideas, Natural Funeral -

Natural and Environmentally Friendly Funerals

A subject of increasing interest.

A single cremation emits approximately 160kg of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Example of a MDF Coffin from Northern Beaches Funerals

Conversely, whilst burial would therefore seem like a more environmentally friendly option.  Think about the immediate excavation, production and transport of the headstone, the ongoing need to maintain a cemetery grounds and specific grave site plus the the possible use of herbicides and pesticides within the cemetery.

Whilst we have not calculated the specific's here, there are certainly ramifications to consider.

All that said, there is a Natural Burial Ground at Kemps Creek Cemetery in Western Sydney.

The difference at Kemps Creek when comparing a conventional cemetery burial are :

  • the reduction (and elimination) of some of the potentially carbon-heavy elements of burial
  • no headstones, but instead the location of each gravesite and the details of the deceased are recorded on a large natural boulder at the entrance to the cemetery
  • burials are shallower than usual

At Kemps Creek the cost of a burial plot is about half that of a conventional cemetery.

Find out more directly from their website Sydney Naturial Burial Park at Kemps Creek.

So - in practical terms, what can we do to minimise the environmental impact of a funeral whilst keeping costs affordable and always maintaining respect and dignity?

Firstly, the coffin.

Most coffins are constructed in MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), with a timber veneer.  They look great, and are relatively low cost (under $500) but the problem with MDF is that it emits formaldehyde (a pretty nasty chemical) when it is cut or sanded and as it burns or breaks down in the ground.

So what are the coffin options...


BioBoard Coffin from Northern Beaches Funerals

BioBoard is heavy-duty compresses cardboard.  It is strengthened and supported by cross-laminated layers and water-based glue.

Very strong, lightweight and has a very smooth finish which can be easily decorated directly.

Handwritten messages from family and friends, illustrations and drawings from children or perhaps a total paint job in vibrant colours.

Whether you go for the natural look or get it totally decked out really depends on what is going to be the most fitting send-off.

No one can really answer that question except for close family and friends.

But, BioBoard certainly gives you the blank canvas to do what is most fitting.



BioBoard Coffin from Northern Beaches Funerals

Wicker is made from Willow plants which at their peak can grow at up to 3cm per day.

Willow grows sustainably without using fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides.

Wicker coffins have perhaps the best environmental credentials available.

Made from a sustainable renewable source with minimal soil degradation.

Carbon emissions are the lowest when compared to other coffin options which use timber milling, glues, metal and more electrical and fossil fuel power to produce.

When cremated, other coffins can release a variety of pollutants acquired in their production; namely preservatives, glue, varnish and/or paint.

Wicker emissions are very low by comparison.



Using seasonal flowers, grown locally (perhaps even from your own garden) is another way to reduce both environmental and financial cost.

Read more about Flowers for a Funeral in this Blog Post.


Order of Service

Consider printing the Order of Service booklet on recycled paper - or perhaps not having one at all, and instead displaying photos of the deceased on and around the coffin.


What about Outdoors?

Think about holding the entire funeral service outdoors.  Let nature provide all the beauty without need for structure or electricity.

The wake could then follow at the same location - perhaps ask people to bring something to contribute with a plate of sandwiches or bake a cake etc. it's a beautiful way to allow everyone to feel involved, as well as keeping down costs and reducing waste.


Give Carbon Back

And - of course - planting a tree in memory of your loved one.

A living legacy that will always keep giving, aswell as providing current and future generations with a place to always remember.


Everything Counts

In death, as in life, it's often these small actions which are so simple, that add up to make the greatest difference.


Every person is unique.  Every family is different.
With us, every Funeral is Individual.

Contact Northern Beaches Funerals at any time :
  --   0416 178 129