This article is part of the Retirement topic. Below are more articles in this topic.
A steadily growing number of people are asking to remain “forever green” with requests for environmentally friendly coffins and natural burials becoming more noticeable, especially among people planning funerals in advance, according to Barry Hayman, manager of Geoffrey T Sowman Funeral Directors in Blenheim.
A New Zealand research project earlier this year showed that 13% of people definitely wanted an eco burial, 18% said they would probably choose a natural burial and 22% were interested.
“We’ve been hearing more requests for eco funerals as people learn more about the options and realise they can significantly reduce their environmental impact with sustainable funeral choices that match the way they live their lives,” Barry said.
In line with the growing trend to be “forever green” he said the Marlborough District Council was exploring the option of an eco-burial area in their Fairhall cemetery development plans. The area would be compliant with natural burial standards and therefore only allow non-embalmed bodies.
“Worldwide, funeral directors’ associations say they expect a lot more interest in eco funerals in the next couple of years, with some suggesting eco burials will become as popular as cremation,” Barry said. “This shows how quickly the eco trend is growing, when you realise that five years ago, we had no requests at all for this service.”
However, people needed to be aware than an eco funeral did not mean economy.
“Choosing eco options can cost a bit more. For example, the caskets usually have to be handmade, because they are not supposed to contain any screws or solvent-based glue, and they can’t be made out of MDF or contain plastics,” he said.
“Some are more environmentally friendly than others. However cardboard coffins are not regarded as environmentally friendly because they are imported and can not be used in cremators,” he said.
The most popular eco caskets used in New Zealand include the Return to Sender rounded coffin seen earlier this year at the Te Papa funeral, along with New Zealand made solid radiata pine and macrocapa caskets with wooden or hemp rope handles. They come with unbleached calico liners and wool mattresses.
A new range of natural embalming products is also available through Geoffrey T Sowman to help overcome a growing reluctance by some people to consider embalming because of environmental concerns.
The environmentally safe, non-toxic embalming fluids naturally rehydrate the body, providing a more natural appearance. The fluids do not contain formaldehyde but initial trials show they provide the necessary sanitisation necessary for preserving the body for a short time until the funeral is held.
“It’s great to have this as another option in our eco-friendly funeral choices,” Barry said. “Until now, we’ve been able to offer formaldehyde-free embalming and, on some occasions, no embalming. But when embalming is necessary for sanitisation, it’s been helpful to have this new natural product.”
Other eco-friendly options include flowers, service sheets and use of cars and hearses.
“We can tailor the entire funeral arrangements to ensure flowers, printed material and other details are as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, flowers should not be held in synthetic foam bases or contain too much wire,” he said.
People preferring cremation can choose from a range of biodegradable ash urns, handmade from natural materials including silk, leather and handmade paper. Later, if the ashes are interred or scattered, the urn can become a remembrance box.
As a member of the FDANZ professional body, Sowmans offer the FDANZ Funeral Trust bereavement plan which allows for payment by easy instalments of $20 a fortnight, or lump sum payments, which are exempt from asset testing for long-term residential care.
|Retirement Travel Directory||Retirement Health & Wellbeing Directory||Retirement Finance & Legal Directory||Retirement Accommodation & Related Services Directory|