Is Cremation Bad for the Environment?

June 29th, 2023
Is Cremation Bad for the Environment?

There is a long and fractious debate over whether cremation is bad for the environment. There is no doubt that cremation requires burning the corpse, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, it is generally agreed that cremation is not as bad for the environment as burial. In today’s blog we are going to expand on why cremation is still better than burial.

Burial Takes up Space

The first matter is one of space. Once a body is cremated, the cremains take up a fraction of the space that a body and a casket do. Since there is a finite amount of space on the planet, using several square feet of ground for someone who has died will seem excessive to many. Cremains are just a small amount of ashes which can be spread somewhere or kept in an urn.

Burial and Embalming

There is no question that the chemicals used for embalming are highly toxic. They are toxic in their manufacture, toxic to those who use them, and toxic to land and ground water if they are released into the soil.

No such chemicals are used for a cremation. And it is difficult to quantify the detrimental effects of embalming millions worldwide.

Wood and Caskets

Then there is the effect of the use of wood for caskets which may or may not be harvested in an eco-friendly manner. There is considerably less or no wood used in cremation, and, in addition, none of the finishes or lacquers are required in cremation like they are for a costly ornamental coffin.

While the burning that takes place in cremation definitely releases carbon dioxide and other chemicals to the atmosphere, one way to mitigate that would be to plant one or more trees to offset this release of gases. One tree can absorb about 40 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year. One cremation releases roughly 400 pounds of carbon dioxide. So, one tree can absorb that in 10 years or 10 trees in one year. However, whether or not you want to plant any trees or make any other eco-friendly lifestyle changes, cremation is still easier on the environment than burial is.

You are welcome to call us at Only Cremations (604) 861-9895 in Vancouver, and we would be happy to talk to you about all aspects of cremation and assist you with any funeral arrangements that you may need. 

Only Cremations, based in Surrey, British Columbia, provides dignified and affordable cremation services. We believe every family deserves respect, reverence, and compassion. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about cremation services, please call or text (604) 861-9895.


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