Burial, cremation and other options to dispose of the body. Environmental considerations and some new alternatives.
In the UK the body needs to be either buried or cremated. However, in terms of rules and regulations you can see here that the nature of the funeral and the final resting place of the body or its ashes can be varied and personalised.
Some cultures have specific traditions for disposing of their dead. In other cultures, people might have a family plot in a graveyard whilst others may prefer cremation.
In this article, Osho on Cremation, Osho explains why Hindus prefer to cremate their dead soon after death. And in this short video of a death celebration at the OSHO Meditation Resort in Pune, India, he speaks about the spiritual significance of giving the body to fire.
What to do with the ashes The Good Funeral Guide gives a multitude of ideas about what can be done with the ashes if the body is cremated. One possibility is to have the body cremated before the funeral so that it is more easily transportable – useful if the funeral is planned for abroad.
Natural Burial and Green Funerals
The essence of a green funeral is age-old, elemental simplicity. It rejects the so-called traditional funeral with its conventional look, in favour of a back-to-nature look in an unspoilt landscape.
In a green funeral/natural burial the body isn’t embalmed as the embalming fluid is generally highly toxic to the soil (or to the atmosphere if the body is cremated), although it is now possible to use less toxic fluids. Read more about the benefits (and some disadvantages) of green funerals. There are also various types of eco-friendly coffin such as the Ecopod Coffin and Willow Coffins.
Some new possibilities
A US initiative looking at composting as a meaningful and ecological option for disposing of the dead.
Resomation (or alkaline hydrolysis) – accelerating the natural decomposition process
Organic burial pods that will turn your loved ones into trees – an interesting idea from Italy – Capsula Mundi
Cryomation – an environmentally friendly process involving freeze-drying
The Good Funeral Guide – excellent UK resource with recommendations of funeral directors, coffin suppliers, green burials and more
The Natural Death Centre – UK charity offering independent funeral advice
The Natural Death Handbook – excellent UK resource
Final Fling Marketplace – directory of suppliers in the UK
Natural Burial Grounds in the UK and additional resources from the Natural Death Centre
Private Land Burial – rules and regulations in the UK – yes you can in some cases be buried in your garden!
Cremation – not the greenest option according to the Natural Death Centre in the UK
www.funeralinspirations.co.uk – describes some of the more unusual options for body disposal