As more people seek to reduce their environmental impact, it’s no surprise that eco-friendly funerals are rising in popularity. Taking a greener approach to planning a funeral can ensure that the choices we make in death are just as impactful as the one’s we make in life.

There are many ways you can create a more environmentally friendly funeral, and this can be a fantastic way to personalise the funeral of a loved one.

Here’s our guide to eco-friendly options you may like to consider when planning a funeral…

What is an eco-funeral?

Eco-funerals, also known as green funerals, are funerals that aim to limit their impact on the environment. More sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives are chosen in favour of the materials and processes traditionally used in funerals.

Nowadays, every part of the funeral-planning process has a green alternative, and there are many different options available for those looking for sustainable approach.

It’s important to note that whilst some people want their entire funeral to be ‘green’, others will choose just one or two eco-friendly elements.


Taking a milder approach to the preparation of a person is generally the preferred method in an eco-funeral. This is why many advocates of green funerals will avoid the embalming process altogether.

Different burial sites will each have their own guidelines on embalming, and our team of funeral arrangers will be able to advise you on this during the planning process.

Is cremation eco-friendly?

Although cremation is a very popular choice, and there are many benefits to being cremated, it isn’t an energy-efficient process and it releases huge amounts of CO2 in to the atmosphere. In an eco-funeral many people will often choose a green burial in favour of cremation.

Burials may not be suitable for everyone, so it’s important to note that although cremation has a higher carbon footprint, the ashes of a person aren’t damaging to the environment. If you opt for a cremation but want to consider other eco-friendly options, perhaps you could store your loved one’s ashes in a biodegradable urn or else use the ashes to grow a tree.

What is a green burial?

The most eco-friendly burial options include green burials. A green burial is a burial that aims to have as little impact on the environment as possible. Embalming is generally avoided and biodegradable coffins are used.

Green burials can take place in a designated area of a cemetery, or else at a green burial site. These sites comprise of protected green space (usually wild flower meadows or woodland) whereby a commemorative tree is planted in place of a traditional headstone. Over time the trees planted create a memorial woodland for you to visit and spend time with your loved one. Many woodland burial grounds will provide you with a map so you can identify the tree of your loved one when you visit.

Each green burial site will look and feel very different, as well as have their own specific guidelines and requirements. Our team of funeral arrangers will be able to advise you on this and help you with your decision.

Eco-friendly coffins

Nowadays there are many options available with regards to choosing a coffin for your loved one.

Although a veneered wood coffin is the most popular option, it’s not always the most sustainable. Choosing a wooden coffin made of reclaimed or responsibly sourced wood is one way to maintain green credentials. Ensuring the wood is biodegradable is another way to keep things environmentally friendly.

You could also choose one of the many biodegradable coffins available, which are made from a number of different materials. Willow coffins are the most popular, however there are many other materials you can choose from including cardboard, bamboo, banana leaf, pandanas and water hyacinth.


Other ways to go green

Aside from the big decisions when planning a funeral, there are many other ways to go green. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Keep it local where possible
  • Offer donations to an environmental charity instead of gifts of flowers
  • Consider your transport for the funeral service and encourage guests to
  • Turn your loved one’s ashes in to ‘reef balls’ to support life in the oceans


It could be easy to think that a green funeral is a very expensive option, however from our experience the cost of a green funeral doesn’t vary dramatically from more traditional funerals. With so many options available, there are many ways to go green without incurring mounting costs.

Perhaps you are considering an eco-friendly funeral for yourself? Our prepaid funeral plans are a great way to cover the majority of your funeral costs whilst ensuring that your wishes to have a green funeral are fulfilled.

Our team of funeral arrangers will be able to advise you on all the options available to create an eco-funeral. To discuss this further, please reach out to our us on 01525 372210 or use our online appointment booking service.