These tips for a zero waste burial, can help you avoid choosing caskets made with endangered wood or toxic embalming fluid, which leaks into the ground for decades after burial (woodland burial sites won’t allow them to be used). Also see how to help someone deal with grief, and how to cope when pets die.
For wildflower cards, wreaths or memorial trees and flowers, see toxic plants to avoid near pets (also avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch & fresh compost). Many plants (inc. yew & oak trees) are toxic to equines.
- The Natural Death Centre is the best site for good info on everything from finding eco-coffins and burial sites, to knowing the law on natural funerals. It also has a handbook (in most libraries) and a magazine.
- The Green Burial Guidebook is by the US ‘green reaper’ and gives a good overview of the green funeral industry. Also read Grave Matters, which follows environmental journalist Mark across 12 funerals including home and sea burials, and a simple shroud.
- Paw Pods (US) were created by a man appalled, when the remains of his beloved dog turned up in a plastic bag. For all species and sizes, these biodegrade into the earth, along with the soul of your friend.
- The Bereavement Register stops people sending notices to dead relatives, which can be very upsetting.
- Donate wedding dresses to Cherished Gowns. Volunteer seamstresses unpick them, and turn them into free burial gowns, for angel babies.
- Tree 2 My Door offers memorial trees for people and pets. Or plant trees on public land via Trees for Life.
Plant a Memorial Tree
To plant a memorial tree is a nice zero waste way to remember a loved one. If you have lost a loved one, a tree makes a nice little send-off, while planting something that will give memories for years to come, help the planet and also give pleasure to people and homes to wildlife, for many decades.
See plants & trees to avoid near pets (avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch & fresh compost near pets). Use humane safe slug/snail deterrents and no-dig garden methods. Many plants (inc. yew & oak trees) are toxic to equines.
Trees for Life is a Scottish charity that will plant trees for beloved humans or animals, in the Scottish Highlands. You don’t get a plaque or anything, just the knowledge that your tree is helping to rebuild forests for native wildlife up there (including red squirrels, who adore the kinds of trees in Scotland). It’s not grey squirrels that are decimating red squirrel populations, but rather lack of the trees they adore, mostly found up north. Plant a tree in the Yorkshire Dales in memory or celebration. Your donation is used to plant a native broadleaf tree from just £10, to help create new woodlands.
- Tree 2 My Door offers nice pet memorial gift packs, includes a tree and a plaque with paw prints. Just ensure you only choose pet-safe trees, if other animals are nearby.
- Hazel Tree is a handsome young tree that is delivered in a beautiful wooden crate, with a slate marker engraved with the godparent’s name, and the name and date of the newborn child. The tree will bear elegant golden catkins through spring, followed by a harvest of delicious nuts in autumn, as the child grows with it. Will require a medium sized garden to thrive, when mature.
- Mulberry Tree offers luscious red berries, a striking tree with beautiful clusters and a heart-shaped foliate. Again needs a medium garden when mature.