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Environmentally Friendly Tombstones - Are There Suitable Memorials That Will Not Harm the Earth?
By Tom Tree

Choosing a suitable memorial for an environmental activist can be a daunting process. Environmentally friendly tombstones are available to serve as a memorial for someone who cherished the earth during life, but may be difficult to find. The goal is to find a tombstone that does not use significant amounts of non-sustainable resources, or that will simply biodegrade many years afterwards. Making matters even more difficult are cemeteries that only allow a narrow range of tombstone materials.

Some forward thinking tombstone manufacturers in the U. K. Have created tombstones made of composite plant materials. These are designed to last for many years, and then gradually dissolve into the ground over time. The U. K. Is facing an extreme shortage of burial space. The burial practices are changing rapidly there because of the lack of space to bury compared to the increasing need for burials. The country is quickly developing burial practices that allow for more natural return to the ground.

In most cemeteries, the materials approved for tombstones and memorials is limited. Cemeteries are concerned with keeping control of how the cemetery looks. So they tend to opt for a few choices that may typically include granite, marble, or sandstone. For families, the cost of these traditional materials is very high and not easily affordable.

Faced with high burial costs and a growing concern for the environment, many people are looking at green burials as a better way to deal with the end of life. Cemeteries are now available where burials may only be accepted with simple pine boxes or even cloth shrouds as the options. To mark burial places in these cemeteries, family members may plant a tree or group of trees, or they may choose a native rock, bush or flowers.

It is not uncommon for family members to find a burial site at a green cemetery using electronic tracking devices. Tracking chips included during internment help family members to locate the plot later on. This modern system assumes that no tombstone will be needed. But, family can choose to use a flat rock or flat tombstone marker to identify the exact spot as long as the natural environment is not disrupted.

Some professional tombstone engravers actually believe that a large stone is the most natural memorial available. Their philosophy is that stones are earth and therefore should serve as an environmentally friendly tombstone. They believe that a beautifully engraved stone is the most beautiful, natural tombstone of all.


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