I was interviewing a client recently about writing her will, and asked her, as a matter of course, whether she had any specific burial requests. “Yes,” she said. “I’d like to be composted.” I was intrigued. She had read about it, and sent me a link to Promessa, a Swedish company that is promoting ecologically sound burials.
There are groups in the United States that are promoting both environmentally sound funerals (e.g. lack of embalming) and burials. They aren’t necessarily composting, but are preparing the body in a manner that will have a minimal impact on the earth later. For instance, some people request that the bodies not be embalmed, so the embalming chemicals won’t pollute the soil. There are also biodegradable caskets being used now. And some spots use rocks or trees to mark a grave, rather than headstones.
The Green Burial Council has some good information and a link to local funeral homes, cemeteries, and other companies that support green burials.
I found a few places near New York City that support green burials. One is EcoEternity Forest upstate. Another is Greensprings Natural Cemetery, near Ithaca. There is the Blauvelt Funeral Home, also near Ithaca. And there is Prout Funeral Home, one of the pioneers, located in Southern New Jersey.
Many of us try to walk softly on the earth while we are here. Why not do it after we’re gone, as well?