Eco-friendly funerals have become increasingly prevalent across the last decade, with many families choosing to honour their loved ones with a more environmentally friendly burial.
Although you may have heard about taking a more sustainable approach when it comes to laying someone to rest, you may have a few questions about what that actually entails, and you may need more information about some of the eco-friendly burial options that are available in Auckland.
If you have been wondering what we mean when we say ‘eco-friendly’ in reference to burial practices, this blog may be a good place to start. Here, we will talk about what makes a burial eco-friendly, who can access this kind of service, and where you or your loved one might be able to be buried if you want to approach this process with a sustainable mindset.
Read on to explore what eco-friendly burial options are available in Auckland.
What is an Eco-Friendly Funeral?
Natural burials have a few different components that make them more eco-friendly. The idea is that nothing will be put into the earth that can’t completely break down naturally over time. The eco-friendly burial process starts by allowing the body to remain in its natural start – this means no embalming fluids or other chemicals are used when the body is being prepared for burial. Instead, the body is just gently washed and moisturised.
In Auckland, there are an increasing number of funeral homes offering these kinds of burial options, with varying levels of commitment to the process. At The Natural Funeral Company, we offer all our customers a natural embalming process, which includes ice preservation, the application of essential oils for bathing and a lotion we have custom-designed in order to massage and nourish the skin ahead of the service.
A large part of offering an eco-friendly burial option is the materials used in the construction of the coffin. Across Auckland, there are a few eco-friendly burial options being offered in terms of the casket or coffin. It may be a little confusing to wade through all of the options available in order to find those that are authentically eco-friendly. However, if you take a look at the range on our website, you will be able to select something suitable, as all the coffins listed are eco-friendly, chemically untreated and constructed from unprocessed materials, including wicker, wood, felted wool and cardboard.
Another way to ensure your burial is eco-friendly is to opt for a shroud burial. This means that the body is wrapped in a garment or fabric made of natural fibres – wool and cotton are often used. If you opt for a shroud burial, many Auckland funeral homes will also offer a shroud bearer to carry the shrouded body of the deceased – look for plywood construction and hand grips for pallbearing for an elegant, eco-friendly option.
New Zealand’s first dedicated natural burial area at Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland plants a tree for every person interred; while the tree is chosen by the team at the cemetery to allow a native forest to be properly laid out, families are invited to help plant the tree.
This dedication to creating a beautiful natural area means that when you opt for a natural funeral, you must also be buried without any non-biodegradable items like jewellery, personal items or clothing.
While the Waikumete Cemetery has dedicated an area to natural internment practices, you can also choose natural preparation before burial at any cemetery. This includes the method of preparing the body, the coffin, casket or shroud chosen, and the decision to ensure the body is buried in garments that will naturally degrade.
Preparing the Body
If you have decided to choose an eco-friendly burial in Auckland, there are a few different ways to approach the care of the body before the service or internment. One of the ways that Auckland families maintain a connection with the deceased throughout the process is to take part in the preparation of the body.
At The Natural Funeral Company, in most cases, we can offer the option for you to take part in this preparation. We can come to your home and tend to the body with you or bring the deceased to our converted church in Eden Terrace for preparation if you prefer.
This can be a beautiful moment for the family, and we encourage you to light candles, play music, and take the opportunity to spend time sharing stories and memories as we gently ready the body. While it is unnecessary to rush a natural burial, it is recommended that the body be covered after a certain time, so viewings are best scheduled for the earliest convenience.
Now that you have a better idea of what is available in Auckland in the way of eco-friendly burial options, you may feel more prepared.
Contact our compassionate and friendly team if you want to learn more or are ready to discuss arranging an eco-friendly burial.