Despite the name, green burials do not require a lot of “green” from your wallet or your environment. The term refers to spectrum of sustainable, eco-friendly options to include in a traditional burial or cremation plan or in the place of a traditional plan.

What makes a burial “green”? The funeral industry buries 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde in embalmed bodies every year, according to the Berkeley Planning Journal. Every traditional cremation releases 880 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to Reuters. However, are there really any other practical options?

Luckily, there are. It simply depends on your personal preferences.

In Arizona, there exist two notable burial grounds that offer a “natural burial” option where you can be buried traditionally, or without embalming fluid but in a biodegradable shroud and casket usually without the use of digging machines. These are the following:

  • Marana Mortuary Cemetery, a green and traditional burial “hybrid” cemetery, Marana AZ
  • Sunwest Cemetery, a hybrid cemetery, El Mirage AZ

Other than a natural burial, water cremations (alkaline hydrolysis), burials at sea or body donations also fall under the green umbrella. While these might not always be available directly in Arizona, an estate planning attorney can help you find resources to make the right burial plan for you.

What makes a funeral “green”?

The “greenness” of your legacy does not have to stop at your burial. Perhaps you already have a traditional burial or cremation but would like to include environmentally-friendly practices in your funeral. The following are ways to do just that:

  • Use local flowers or plants
  • Schedule daytime services
  • Choose plant-based burial clothes (such as cotton or wool) without metal embellishments
  • Choose a bio-degradable casket or urn
  • Print programs on responsibly recycled paper or eliminate programs entirely
  • Make a charitable donation to a nature preserve

These are only a few of the many creative ways you can create an environmentally-friendly legacy. Explore your options with an estate planning attorney today to find the best fit for you.