I know funerals, funeral homes & death are a taboo subject for many, including my husband. So, if taboo for you too, then move on to another article. Me, I am interested in anything that professes to be “green” or “eco-friendly” even if it is a funeral home. And funeral homes and dying do not bother me particularly, they are a fact of life. That being said, I’ve see this piece reported now twice and wanted to research it a little myself. Leander has no funeral home now, so Wrench Funeral & Cremation Services will be the first. Even the fact that this business professes to be green appears good but I want to know more, to see if this is mere greenwashing or truly has green features, is a geen service. The Austin American-Statesman ran an article entitled “Leander’s first funeral home to be ecofriendly” Thursday, May 7th, 2009. The article stated that the funeral home will “offer environmentally friendly options, including green burials”. I am curious about what that means. The Statesman also reported that the building will be built from energy efficient materials yet did not report what those will be. The Austin Business Journal, in an article entitled “Dying to go green” said they will offer green burials & environmentally friendly products. Paul Wrench, the owner has a position as chairman on the Green Initiative Task Force of the Texas Funeral Directors Association.
In my research I found a site on home funerals. It reiterated the point that home funerals, like home births had gone by the wayside but are green, legal & now making a comeback.
I too would be interested in knowing what exactly a “green” funeral is compared to a non green. When you find out the differences please let us know. Thanks.
I have read that there is enough formaldehyde, a carcinogenic embalming fluid, under some cemetaries to fill several swimming pools. Green funerals involve such things as inexpensive caskets that are biodegradable instead of expensive steel caskets and concrete vaults. There are also green cemetaries that preserve open space. The idea of green funerals and burials is an emerging movement. For more information see http://sandra.stahlman.com/greenfuneral.html There are lots of great links.
I have friends building a church that is going to be very green friendly in Leander – I will have to pass this article on to them.
When I saw this headline in the newspaper, I wondered how a burial could be “green” so I’ll be waiting for more information also.
When doing a search I ran across this blog. First off, I want to thank everyone for their interest in green burials. I wanted to clarify a few points around what we are going to be green both internally and in the services we will offer when we open.
As we all know there are different shades of green, and I realized that when I started to look at building the funeral home. We are by no means perfectly green, but rather trying to take a good first step in being eco-friendly.
What is a green burial? A ‘green’ burial is one that does not involve embalming of the body with chemicals. It also would include a casket or even wicker basket, that is made from materials that have no metal parts, biodegradble finishes, and in the case of wood made from renewable wood species (can even use a shroud). There are many choices when it comes to green burials, as the burial itself is the form of disposition. I could go on-and-on, but hope that helps.
Internally, we will have a eco-policy that will adhere to strict recycling, energy usage, use of green products, and other items. We also built the facility to the best standard we could for the budget we had. We used solar boards in the attic, highest efficiency heat-pumps, eco certified wood floors, eco friendly carpet, potential for solar panels later, exploring a hybrid lead vehicle and other things to be environmentally conscious.
As the Chair for the Texas Funeral Directors Association Green Task Force, I wanted to lead by example, and am always looking for new ideas and products that I can share with other Texas Funeral Directors. I write a monthly article in our association magazine, and once we open in the Fall would be happy to speak to groups about green burials.
Hope this helped clarify some questions…
Mr. Wrench has also partnered with the Leander Parks Dept, and will plant a tree in the park for every family he serves. It’s a way to not only give back to the environment, but also a way to keep a memory alive forever.
I’m on track for starting different ‘funeral home’ -we are fueling the fires of home funerals, natural burials and taking the guess work out of funerals. No grandma furniture, no coat and ties -respectable dress with an artsy twist. We will have books, cards, DNA print pictures and other art work. I already sell biodegradable caskets -pine boxes, “I can’t believe it’s cardboard’ caskets as well as these gorgeous basket caskets (looking for a USA maker -but for now a Fair Trade Eco-coffin), shrouds and biodegradable urns. I’ve certainly got the inventory -I can contract out the rest. Beauty, art and simplicity will be a theme -as you can imagine, it’s not going over very well with most of our local funeral homes! I’m appaled at how many folks embalm, rent a casket, have the service in the weird funeral home, buy a $45 cardboard container that resembles a refriderator box and cremate the embalmed body. Do you know what would happen if I burned a bag of embalming fluid in my yard? Or even buried it? I would be arrested and fined -yet cemeteries are full of it (take a look at the huge conifers feeding off the acid soil)and we are breathing it daily.
Hopefully, it will take off this wild idea –
The Green Reaper
This is a nice post! now I become interested on this “green” funeral and hopefully they are really using biodegradable casket.
I am in the start-up phase of building affordable, eco-friendly, customizable caskets locally here in Austin. My main focus is on green burial style caskets- these are not the metal or flashy funeral home style caskets you see when shopping online or when you visit the funeral home of choice. These caskets are solid wood with NO METAL fasteners, hinges or decorations. The basic materials used are pine from sustainable forests, fair trade organic rope handles, and biodegradable glue- THAT’S IT!!! Nothing to harm the ground it goes into and fully biodegradable.
Optional ornaments may include fair trade, organic textiles on the interior, wooden handles, custom engraving, appliqued symbols of faith (cross, Star of David, etc.), and organic stains and finishes.
I will ship for free in the Austin Metro areas- including Leander!
For every casket sold a tree will be planted! (As I am still in the start-up phase, the organization(s)/ sustainable forests where trees will be planted is TBD! I have much research to do to find the best place to contribute. These details will be ironed out very soon!)
The best part is- I pride my business on its personal relationships and AFFORDABILITY! The passing of a loved one is a sensitive issue. Friends and family should not have to be burdened with the high cost of a simple casket! They should be met by a caring soul who offers a fair price for an Earth friendly casket.
I would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the possibilties of providing you with more information about my company, what we have to offer, and how to get started working together for the greater good! Please feel free to contact me through my current website for woodworking and keep watching for my new site to be up soon! Thank you!