How is Direct Cremation More “Green” than a Burial?
There are many ways that a direct cremation is cleaner, and more environmentally friendly, than an in-ground interment. From the process of preparing a body for a public viewing to long after burial, a traditional burial has environmental impacts that last for centuries. When you consider what legacy you are leaving for your children, grandchildren, and all other future generations, be sure to consider the manner of disposition of the body of your deceased loved one,
as well as the plans for the disposition of your own body. Direct Cremation is a great way to leave behind a clean earth legacy for future generations.
What is Direct Cremation?
Direct cremation is where the body of the deceased is taken from where it is and quickly taken to a crematory for cremations. Appointments need to be made, a death certificate needs to be issued, and decisions need to be made, but generally it takes no more than a few days. The body can be held at Harmony Funeral Home in Brooklyn while arrangements are made.
Avoid the Toxic Waste of an Embalming
While many people find the idea of a cremation disturbing, what is far more disturbing is the reality of having your body filled with a toxic cocktail of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, as well as other solvents and various chemicals. Especially formaldehyde should be avoided. It is on the EPA’s top ten toxic chemicals list and is a well-known carcinogen. The toxic legacy of these chemicals doesn’t end with burial. Burial vaults are specifically designed to leak, so the toxic soup ends up leaching into the surrounding soil and eventually in the groundwater. Every year, approximately 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde are buried. You can choose to not contribute to this toxic mess by choosing direct cremation.
A Waste of Natural Resources
An in-ground burial is traditional in many cultures and has been from the earliest days of humanity, in fact, it can be seen as the hallmark of civilization in many ways, but times change. Humans have been actively exploiting the natural resources of our finite planet for so long, and so intensively, that we must now pause and consider if our uses of metal and wood, for example, are warranted.
Every year, the equivalent of 212, 314 trees are used to build coffins. Much of this wood is tropical and hardwood, from trees hundreds of years old. We really have to consider if cutting down the tropical forest, the lungs of our planet, are worth a coffin that will be buried. Metal is also used in vast amounts for coffins: 90,272 tons of steel and 2,700 tons of copper and bronze are used every year.
A Good Use of Land?
The use of so much land for cemeteries is also being questioned these days. As the human population grows, land use issues are growing in importance. Looking at just acreage in the United States alone, we see that over 1,000,000 acres are set aside for cemeteries. If this land was, in addition to being a cemetery, also used as animal refuges, or for forest growth, it could be seen as beneficial, but most cemeteries are heavy consumers of pesticides, irrigation water, and herbicides. Direct Cremation does not require that any land be set aside in perpetuity. You can choose to disperse the ashes over the ocean, or in a forest, for example, returning the ashes to the earth in a responsible way.
A Healthy Earth Legacy to Remember
Direct Cremation avoids the use of toxic chemicals, the waste of precious natural resources and the use of land. By choosing a cremation method that is done quickly after death, you can leave a legacy of a healthy earth. The cremains, as cremated remains are known, can be kept in an urn, interned in a columbarium, or dispersed by family and friends in a memorial service. A direct cremation does not rule out the possibility of a memorial service, so you can still have a celebration of the life of the loved one and then disperse the cremains, giving thanks for the life they had, that you shared, and for the healthy earth legacy they are leaving behind.
Call Harmony Funeral Home to learn more.