Burial or Cremation

In terms of carbon emissions

the discussion around burial or cremation and which is better for the environment comes down to a number.

The number is the amount of CO2 emitted during the burial or cremation process, a cremation using a conventional gas fired heated chamber gives off on average about 180kg of CO2 without a coffin. (This varies greatly, dependent on the size and composition of the deceased and the style of coffin used so estimates can only ever be used). The use of a solid or chipboard coffin will reduce the need for fuel in the cremation and save approximately 40kg of CO2 (given sustainable wood is classed as a biomass) leaving an emission of 140kg.

Compare that to a Woodland burial site

which is more than likely located out of town and could facilitate vehicles involved with the funeral travelling an extra twenty miles there and back. An average car travelling 1 km will produce of 150g of CO2, thus adding on the extra 20 miles or 32km of travel per vehicle to the total number of funeral cars used, lets guess this number at 12. The sum would be as follows 150 x 32 x 12 = 57.6kg of CO2. By looking at the extra travel factor a more reasoned judgment is made. Add this to the value of the CO2 emissions associated with decay the woodland burial carbon footprint works out at 100kg, two thirds of that associated with cremation.

So to recap, in terms of the environmental impact and CO2 emissions then a funeral using a woodland or natural burial site has only two thirds of the CO2 emissions of a cremation only service making the woodland / natural burial ground option a far more environmentally friendly option than a cremation.
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