Funerals are the final acts of individual consumption. Environmental impacts include consumption of various resources (especially wood, metal, stone, concrete, and land), pollution (embalming fluids, mercury, and other heavy metals), and energy use (cremation, concrete manufacture, mowing of cemeteries, and travel to funeral and memorial services). Greener alternatives are increasingly offered, particularly by organizations outside the traditional funeral industry.

Several Websites, including Green Funeral Guide, state that U.S. funerals—more resource-intensive than those in other nations—annually use

  • 30 million board feet (70,000 m3) of hardwoods (caskets),
  • 90,272 tons of steel (caskets),
  • 14,000 tons of steel (vaults),
  • 2,700 tons of copper and bronze (caskets),
  • 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete (vaults),
  • 827,060 gallons (3,130 m3) of embalming fluid.

The director of the Green Burial Council (GBC) estimates that the typical 10-acre cemetery contains enough casket wood ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles