Making funerals greener

White Rose Blog Article

While in life people focus on how we can be kinder to the planet, what happens to us afterwards may not always be that environmentally friendly. In fact, emissions from cremations can be surprisingly high.

In October 2021, there was a special report by BBC South News on how to make funerals greener. This looked at the impact on the environment of gas cremations and the benefits of greener alternatives like electric cremators and in particular natural burials.

In March 2021 the Environmental Stewardship Group was set up to address the bereavement sector’s impact on the environment and its response to the Climate Emergency. White Rose Modern Funerals fully support this initiative to driving positive change and innovation in our sector.

For example, 95% of all coffins in the UK are made up of particle board (off cuts, chippings, sawdust) which are compressed together using a variety of glues and resins. When you bury or burn these, it has an effect on the land or the air. At White Rose Modern Funerals, we offer a full range of eco-friendly biodegradable coffins.

Cremations produce large quantities of harmful emissions, requiring huge amounts of energy to cremate one single body. Natural burials are a more sustainable options that is kinder for the environment because they are carbon neutral, which means that the carbon in the body and coffin is locked up in the ground rather than released into the air. The burials are shallow so that the goodness in the body is accessible to plants and tree roots.

This programme features the South Downs Natural Burial Ground – but there are over 300 natural burial grounds across the UK. Currently around 80% of funerals in the UK are cremations, however as public awareness around natural burials as a greener alternative builds, we believe there will be a shift towards eco-friendly natural burials in the coming years.

You can watch the two-part report originally broadcast on 5th & 4th October here:

For more information about natural burials, please see our natural burial section on this site or call us on 020 3281 1045.