Ashes and plaques
Many families scatter ashes in a favourite place or inter them with a memorial in a crematorium or family grave. But ashes can be put in a biodegradable urn and planted with a tree seed – the ashes feed the tree as it grows. Others build a tiny portion of ashes into a glass keepsake or sculpture or press them into vinyl records. Ashes can be incorporated into fireworks for a farewell display. You can also commission an artist to create a plaque or headstone.
There are more than 270 natural burial sites in the UK. Bodies are buried in eco-friendly coffins or shrouds and the sites – sometimes wildlife reserves or woodlands – are kept undisturbed. Graves are shallow to aid eco-friendly decomposition – the deeper bodies are buried, the more methane is produced. You are discouraged from having traditional headstones or memorials to keep the site natural. Charity the Natural Death Centre warns against “greenwashing” – when sites make false claims about their environmental credentials – so check with the Association of Natural Burial Grounds and visit in advance.
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