ISN'T CREMATION GREEN?
Cremation is not considered to be a ‘green’ way of disposing of the deceased remains, but might be considered ‘greener’
than a conventional funeral with an embalmed body in a steel or exotic hardwood casket which is buried in a cement vault.
Cremation consumes a large amount of fossil fuel, a non-renewable
resource. Effective cremation requires temperatures above 1100 degrees
for 2 – 3 hours. Although some modern cremation units called retorts
can have minimal CO2 emissions due to extremely efficient “scrubbers”,
the impact of other emissions such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and others, is less well known.
Did you know that currently in Québec, regulations dictate that an un-embalmed corpse must be placed in a body bag
that is then placed in a casket which are both burned with the body?
Are current filters able to filter out the microplastics emitted from burning these plastic body bags?
Emissions from crematorium in Wakefield, QC
Cremation now accounts for more than 70% of disposition in Canada and
is increasing. Over time these effects may be more significant.
Cremation burns fossil fuels, and some older cremation facilities can use significantly more energy compared to newer ones.
Mercury is also emitted when a person with dental amalgam fillings is
cremated. While no standards yet exist that allow consumers
to determine which cremation retorts produce the most pollution and
carbon emissions, there are a few things that can be done to
reduce the negative impacts of cremation such as recycling medical parts, using a cardboard cremation
casket rather than wood and
making a contribution to a carbon fund.
Cremation does not take up as much land, but some may feel it takes away an opportunity to give back to the Earth in the way
green burial does with a naturally decomposing body. The choice of final resting place can also a be a factor.
Scattering cremated remains or using a biodegradable urn will have less of an environmental impact than
interment in a niche/columbarium or in-ground cremation plot with a metal urn and a marker.
It is important to note that provinces and states may have varying laws regarding the spreading of ashes.
Although there has been some work done to lower emissions and reduce
the overall carbon footprint of the cremation model in some
other methods such as promession, resomation and human composting (recomposition or humusation) are being explored as alternatives to cremation.
GREEN DEATHCARE MOVEMENT
EARTH FRIENDLY BURIALS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALIST
WHAT IS GREEN OR NATURAL BURIAL?
GREEN BURIAL IS A CONTINUUM
History of Embalming
Myths about Embalming
Truths about Embalming
AQUAMATION -- A GREENER ALTERNATIVE TO CREMATION?
LAWS & LOGISTICS
EDUCATE YOURSELF, MAKE A PLAN