Would you cremate your loved one and put their ashes in a biodegradable urn instead of a wood or metal casket? Une Belle Vie Memorial Urns is counting on you to say “absolutely.”
I know it seems odd. With all the Earth Day promotions, why would the Company contact me about biodegradable urns? Three reasons come to my mind. First, there are only two things you can’t escape in life: death and taxes. (Ask Al Capone.) Secondly, the funeral industry has a very large environmental footprint from their use of natural resources such as steel and wood to toxic chemical such as formaldehyde used in ebalming fluid. And where are people buried. Yep. The Earth. Third. I wrote a post not to long ago on a biodegradable casket. Get the connection?
To bring it on home, or perhaps to the Earth, Joe Sehee writes in his article, “Green Burial: It’s Only Natural,”
“Each year we bury:
—Enough embalming fluid (now made up of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen according to the World Heath Organization) to fill eight Olympic-size pools;
—More steel (in coffins alone) than was used to build the Golden Gate Bridge; and
—So much reinforced concrete that we could construct a two-lane highway from New York to Detroit.”
In 2007, according to Casket & Funeral Supply Association 1.7 million caskets were sold. That’s a whole lot of caskets. Biodegradable Urns are sounding better and better.
Cremation on the other hand has its own footprint as well but use far less resources then traditional burial methods. AGreenerFuneral.org states,
“Cremation requires the burning of fossil fuels, and some older cremation facilities can use significantly more energy compared to newer ones. Mercury is also emitted when a person with dental amalgam fillings is cremated, but the development of effective filtration devices and the decline in use of dental amalgam fillings will eventually mitigate this problem.”
However, Bio-cremation, which use a liquid chemical process to dissolves bodies instead of fossil fuel will help to decrease the impact. Florida has approved the use of this process.
So, if cremation is greener, then what happens if you want to dispose of the ashes and the urn? The Company’s answer is of course, their biodegradable urn. Unlike their traditional urn counterparts, the biodegrable urns are made of either clay, organic proteins and sand or wood boxes devoid of plastic or metal hinges. (As for the wood, there isn’t any mention about whether the wood is FSC certified. )
How long does it take to biodegrade? Most of the descriptions of the urns on the Company’s website state that they will dissolve in water in 48 days and 12o days if buried. However, the Company told me based upon their own testing that the urns can biodegrade in as little as 30 days to 120 days buried or from 1 hour to 48 hours in water based on temperature.
However, not everyone disposes of their loved ones ashes. In this case, the Company further stated that the urns would last for years in a normal, temperature-controlled environment. As to specific amount of time, they explained,
“[w]e are not sure how long because we haven’t been able to test how long they last in a controlled environment.”
The biodegradable urns are available in different sizes for both humans and pets. The price range varies from $60 to $205.
Join the conversation:
- Would you consider cremating in lieu of a traditional casket to be greener?
- Would you consider using a biodegradable urn?
- Would you opt for a greener casket choice?
- How does religion play a part in your funeral decisions?