What is an Eco-Friendly Funeral?

As eco-awareness has increased globally, we see that the decision to live a greener life is leading to more eco-conscious decisions around death. Many are seeking to understand the best ways to plan an ethical funeral. There are many options now available and each element of the funeral service and situations following can be altered according to more environmentally friendly principles.

Eco-friendly funerals offer a responsible alternative to traditional methods by eliminating the use of harmful chemicals. In place of standard caskets made from non-decomposable materials like steel and cement, our approach incorporates the use of environmentally-friendly coffins. This choice significantly reduces the environmental impact, ensuring a more eco-conscious final farewell.

Leave a lighter footprint: Green Funeral and Burial Tips:

While cremation is not the most sustainable option, there are still ways to make cremation greener, if this is your preference. There are now biodegradable urns on the market that house a seedling for a tree. They can be planted in the ground where the seed will begin to grow and the urn will eventually decompose and become fertiliser to support the further growth of the tree. Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals. One large tree can supply a day’s worth of oxygen for four people.


The ritual of burial symbolises the returning of our bodies back to the earth; nature. However, for some time now, coffins and burial practices have been designed to delay the decomposition process; such as embalming and coffin materials which do not break down and are often from rare and endangered trees. With the rise in green conscious funerals, there is now a host of other options for coffins, such as wicker, cardboard, water hyacinth or bamboo, all designed to break down and return the body to nature.

Even when it comes to funerals, it’s vital to think of the environment too


There are many details that go into the planning of a funeral service, which means there are many elements to consider greener options. Use recycled paper for programs or hymn sheets, source any flowers from organic, local growers. Ask attendees to carpool to the service and home. Then, if you are planning a wake, consider making it meat-free, locally sourced and organic food. Avoid buying processed foods and be sure to use recyclable plates and cutlery.


It is common for the bereaved to receive flowers and other gifts from loved ones to express their condolences. While the gesture is lovely, cut flowers and bought gifts that are likely to later collect dust are not very environmentally friendly. One option is to request that loved ones wanting to give gifts can instead donate to an environmentally conscious charity.

If loved ones are set on giving gifts then make them practical; consider plants and trees that can live on forever or cooked meals to help relieve some responsibilities from the bereaved.

Browse Hetherington’s range of eco-friendly urns.

Whether you need to plan a funeral now or wish to think about the future, Hetherington Funerals are here. For more information or advice please contact us on (08) 9459 2846, submit an enquiry on our contact page or look at our services here.