More On Green Alternatives to Funerals and Burial

By Sandra A. Miller Globe Correspondent / March 1, 2009

Ruth Faas and Sue Cross watched attentively as the crimson ecopod decorated with the gold Aztec sun symbol was lowered into a grave at Mount Auburn Cemetery last May. Cemetery administrators had proposed a test run with an empty casket to see how its papier-mache material, shaped like an Egyptian mummy’s sarcophagus, would work with the hydraulic equipment that typically handles heavy, oblong coffins. Despite a little wobble, the conventional lift handled the 40-pound ecopod just fine – good news for Faas and Cross.

Each year in the 22,500

US cemeteries, we bury:

827,060 gallons of embalming fluid

1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete (vaults)

90,272 tons of steel (caskets)

14,000 tons of steel (vaults)

2,700 tons of copper and bronze (caskets)

30 million board feet of hardwoods (caskets)

SOURCE: Mary Woodsen, Greensprings Natural Cemetery, Newfield, N.Y.

As cofounders of Mourning Dove Studio LLC in Arlington Center, where they sell ecopods as well as other biodegradable caskets, they have a holistic vision for the death-care industry that seems to exceed their commercial ambitions. They are also local groundbreakers in the natural burial movement, now deeply established in Europe but just gaining traction in the United States.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Wow. I also never thought of caskets as an environmental hazard either. Is anyone campaigning for the use of these biodegradable hazards?

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