Cremation, the process of reducing a body to ashes through intense heat, has become an increasingly popular choice for final disposition in many cultures. However, it’s important to recognize that this method has environmental implications that are worth considering.
Cremation requires a significant amount of energy. The process involves heating a cremation chamber to temperatures of approximately 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is sustained for several hours. This energy-intensive process contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and the depletion of natural resources.
The cremation process releases various emissions into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter. While modern crematories are equipped with pollution control technologies to minimize emissions, some pollutants may still escape into the environment, contributing to air pollution and climate change.
One of the most concerning environmental impacts of cremation is the release of mercury vapor. Dental fillings containing mercury (amalgam fillings) are often not removed from deceased bodies before cremation. As a result, mercury vapor is released into the air, posing a risk to both the environment and human health.
Cremation requires the use of materials such as caskets, urns, and clothing, all of which can have their own environmental impacts. The production of these items consumes resources and energy, and many are not biodegradable.
Burial Alternative: Green Burial
Cremation can also indirectly impact the environment by influencing burial practices. As cremation becomes more common, it may lead to a reduction in traditional burial practices, which often involve the use of land for cemeteries. Some argue that this land could be repurposed for more environmentally friendly uses.
Natural burial aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitats. Additionally, it pays special attention to returning the body back to the earth in a safe way that is simple and natural, allows for greater family interaction, and is a fraction of the cost of conventional burial. In current times, green burial is also rooted in the spirit of social and environmental change – and Serenity Ridge is committed to being part of that change.