The common funeral in the UK is getting very expensive which is adding to the growing trend of green burials. According to recent reports more than 100,000 people will struggle to pay for a funeral this year. The average cost of a basic funeral is around £3500, but that it not taking into consideration the doctors fees, the fees for the minster or celebrant fees, order of service sheets, notices in local papers, flowers, probate, memorials and of course venue hire and food.
The average cost of a funeral increased by 80 per cent between 2004 and 2013 and it is expected to continue to rise. On average, a funeral with everything included will cost £7600 this year, which is a 7.1% increase since last year alone. Your location in the UK will also play a part in what a funeral will cost, London being the most expensive area. Sadly it is thought that 100,000 people will struggle to pay for a funeral this year.
Because of these reasons, ‘green burials’ or ‘eco-burials’ are a becoming more popular. There really is no need to spend that amount of money when someone dies. Green burials are a far cheaper and a much more down to earth burial. Returning the body to the ground is nothing new; people have been doing that for thousands of years.
Generally a green burial is where a biodegradable casket is used. It can be made from cardboard, wood or bamboo but sometimes special eco-paper is used. The body is left to biodegrade naturally without the use of toxic embalming. Quite often the grave will be shallow so that the decomposing organic matter can nourish the top soil. The burial grounds are usually marked with a tree instead of an elaborate headstone and the actual burial sites are maintained more like a nature reserve than a manicured garden.
The reason many people are opting for a green burial is because of a number of reasons, the cost being a big one, but also green burials are a much more “natural” or “low-impact” burials. Traditional burials were becoming increasingly environmentally harmful. With toxic chemicals used in embalming, lacquered wooden caskets buried beneath the ground. Polished stone or marble headstones permanently alter the landscape which caused damage to surrounding ecosystems. Green burials are far more eco friendly and kinder to the earth as they provide a permanent habitat for native plants and animals.
Natural burial grounds are also a much nicer place to return to over the years. By planting a tree or plant you are giving the ground something back time and time again and watch it grow. There are now nearly 300 burial grounds in the UK and they are on the rise. Run by a number of local councils, charities, local residents and private businesses. Here is a list of current natural burial grounds http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/index.php?page=find-a-natural-burial-site.
The trend for an ecologically sensitive natural burial shows no signs of slowing down. This has got to be a good thing and we are all for it. Below are some images of our memorial benches situated in burial grounds around the country. The memorial benches below can be found at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground in Lower Tysoe, Warwick.