More than 980,000 people have died in the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, the number of deaths is estimated to be close to 6 million. And some researchers say the impact of these deaths are a threat to the living. According to a study published by the Environmental Science and Pollution Research, surrounding urban environments are being contaminated by cemeteries because of the higher number of deaths.
One option is eco-friendly burials. And more people are considering them as an option. The burials don’t require chemicals, the remains are placed in a biodegradable container, grave markers are made from natural materials and headstones don’t stick out above ground. The cost is between $2000-$3000. The National Funeral Director’s Association says traditional burials average around $8500. Cremations, the most popular option for citizens in the US, average about $2600, according to the Association. It’s estimated that less than 10% of people choose green burial.
The Green Burial Council has certified more than 200 natural burial sites around the country. The Council’s website says that certified sites don’t cut the grass or use chemicals to control weeds, and graves are required to be dug and filled with only hand tools.
Another option for the eco-friendly is body composting, described as a method of disposition that speeds up the natural decomposition process and turns a body into usable soil. Here’s how it works:
- store the body inside a vessel or container
- organic materials are added to the container
- the container is heated at 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit through the rotation of solar panels
- the body will naturally turn into soil
However, as of August 2021, only four states: Washington. Colorado, California, Oregon, allow human composting.