Environmentally Friendly Burial Options

Sunset in a forest

This consultation is now closed

This survey is to establish what demand there may be for environmentally friendly burial options to be provided by Rotherham Council in the Rotherham area. This consultation closes on 14/02/21.

While most funerals still take place in a crematorium or other religious buildings, the trend towards green living and increased focus on the environment has brought with it an increase in the number of people looking at greener funeral options.

As the popularity of natural burials grows, the number of environmentally friendly burial sites is also on the increase. This increase in the number of options, along with the prospect of laying loved ones to rest surrounded by trees and wildflowers is making green funerals an increasingly attractive option for families to say goodbye.

What is an environmentally friendly burial?

An environmentally friendly burial, also referred to as a green funeral or natural burial, is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burials and cremation. Usually set within a woodland area and surrounded by countryside, most sites offer either a burial plot or the scattering of ashes.

The idea behind this more natural style of funeral is to minimise the environmental impact of the funeral by choosing sustainable options. By using biodegradable coffins or shrouds and prohibiting embalming, the burial site is designed to preserve existing woodland sites and the species that live within them. Some sites will also use meadows, orchards or other farmland.

What kind of memorial can I have with an environmentally friendly burial?

Rather than a traditional headstone or other memorials, many environmentally friendly sites are committed to keeping the site as natural as possible, with graves marked by natural memorials such as plants or trees. Some may allow memorials made from natural materials, such as a wooden cross, to be erected.

What would happen at an environmentally friendly burial?

Environmentally friendly burials are flexible. Generally, you wouldn’t need to follow a traditional agenda, and nor would you need to source funeral hymns or religious readings for the ceremony. However, your faith needs could be accommodated, making religious woodland burials an option for those who want them.

Your ceremony could take many different forms. Some people will choose not to hold a ceremony, others may choose to take a memory walk through the woodland or meadow area to where your loved one’s memorial is to be placed and share moments of remembrance with close family and friends.

Eco coffins for an environmentally friendly burial

If you considered a green burial for your loved one, you may wish to note environmentally friendly burials often use eco coffins or simple shrouds as an option, which are designed to be biodegradable. They give you the option of returning loved ones to nature in a dignified yet simplistic manner.