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Growing demand for green funerals

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What's on your bucket list? What makes a good death? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want an eco-funeral? What music do you want played? Funeral directors will be asking people to consider difficult questions like these during Dying Matters Week.

The national awareness campaign takes place from Monday 14th May and Lincolnshire Co-op's funeral colleagues will be hosting coffee mornings, organising get-togethers and manning stalls across the area, challenging people to talk openly about death and their wishes - see here for dates and times.

Each event will be interactive with searching questions on death, dying and end of life for participants to consider. There will also be the chance to ask the expert team questions about the options on offer and all the practicalities associated with a funeral.

Head of Funerals David Dernley says he expects queries about eco-funerals as interest in green burials, environmentally-friendly coffins and even floral arrangements grow. For example, the number of people choosing eco-coffins has quadrupled in the past five years and now over 25 per cent of funerals conducted feature a ‘green’ coffin. 

"In the last five years or so, we've seen more people interested in reducing the environmental impact of the funeral they're organising. In part, that's due to the greater awareness we all have about environmental issues," said David.

"There's also the shift in generations. The 'baby boomers' were often considered the pioneers of the green movement in the 60s and 70s. Many of that generation are now looking at funeral plans for themselves or are deciding for their loved ones. They’ve kept that interest in the environment and want to explore all the options available.

The number of green burial sites has grown locally as demand has increased and now, all Lincolnshire Co-op's funeral homes work with at least one such site. 

There are now several different eco-coffins available, including fairly-traded bamboo and seagrass, which are 100 per cent biodegradable. 

Around 75 per cent of people now choose cremation. In the last year, new options have been introduced which drastically reduce the environmental impact of cremation through cutting harmful emissions.

"Our most affordable coffin is called the Earthcare and as well as being half the price of some traditional models, it's also one of the most environmentally friendly,” said David. 

“It looks like mahogany or oak but is actually made from a compound produced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified waste and offcut wood.

“It has a honeycomb design within the panels which reduces the amount of material needed but which also makes it incredibly strong.

"The Earthcare produces 70 per cent less emissions when cremated than a traditional coffin. Considering the number of people who choose cremation these days, that's potentially a big impact."

People can find out more about eco-funerals at Lincolnshire Co-op's Dying Matters events. And David also hopes those visiting will ask any questions they’ve been too shy to tackle before.

“There are two inevitable events in our lives; birth and death. The first we plan for and celebrate but the second, it feels easier to ignore,” he said. 

“It’s understandable as death is a difficult subject but it means people are often unclear about what’s involved and what their options are. If they’re not sure, how will their loved ones be able to make decisions when the time comes? We’re looking forward to helping people get these issues out in the open.”

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