Is cremation green? Well, not really. One cremation uses as much energy as it takes to drive a car 600 miles. Taking the cremation stats of 2010 into consideration, all cremations in the US uses as much energy as it takes to get to the moon 2,615 times. As you can see, it takes a lot of energy to destroy a human body. Cremation is steadily becoming more and more popular so the overall use of energy increases. Considering the fact that cremation is not federally regulated, and that crematoriums are not required to have scrubbers on their stacks, the greenness fades even more so. Whatever the body is wearing when it comes to the crematorium is what gets burned. People of a certain age have mercury fillings, so mercury goes up into the atmosphere, along with any man-made fibers or plastic that arrives with the body. I know that some crematoriums have scrubbers. I suggest if you do choose this option, and want to be environmentally conscious, that you check out the operation of the crematorium before you decide. I also think you should make plans as to how a body arrives so that it is in natural fibers. You could choose to have a shroud or dressed in natural fibers.
People are attracted to cremation for many reasons. Unlike a traditional full body burial, cremation allows the family to make many choices for memorialization. No funeral director needs to be involved beyond the procedure in seven states. In some states, you can take care of everything from beginning to the end, as long as you follow state laws. You can transport the body and you can sprinkle the cremains on your own property or keep them in any urn of your choice. Cremains can be pressed into an album or made into jewelry. People say that cremation takes up less land or that you can become a tree. In reality, the cremains are inert and no longer can nourish the earth into which they are placed. Cremation, however, remains attractive for so many people. There is a greener “cremation” choice called in Illinois flameless cremation or resomation, but that is topic of a different post. As in most things in life, we have to weigh the positive and the negative and choose which is best for your family and us. Perhaps cremation is not the greenest choice, but it is greener than being embalmed and entombed in a mausoleum. Choose what works for you and your family. I firmly believe that we should not feel guilty about our choices, but I believe we owe it to ourselves to know as much as we can before we make the decision.