Eco-friendly funerals on the rise say Twickenham-based firm of funeral directors


The environmentally friendly trend has spread to funerals according to an eco-friendly Twickenham firm.


By Daniel Jolly, Katie Mansfield, Sabrina Parkar, Julia Ross and Jack Zorab

Eco-friendly funerals are on the rise according to a Twickenham-based firm of funeral directors.  

As a society obsessed by our carbon footprint and the impact we leave on the planet, it seems some are taking this one step further and turning to green funerals.

Green Endings Funerals owner, Jeremy Smith, said: “For the past seven to eight years people are becoming much more environmentally aware.  

“Funerals can reflect principles and the choices of a person when alive.”

Burials in coffins made of sustainable materials such as bamboo, wicker, cardboard and banana leaf are all green options, while reusable coffins are also surprisingly popular.  

The wooden coffin has a cardboard lining, with the wood being dismantled and the cardboard lining cremated.

Eco-coffins can be customised to the family’s wishes, ranging from leopard print to canal boats. 

Will Hunneybel, Managing Director of eco-coffin suppliers Greenfield Creations, said: “People are as different in death as they are in life and a personalised coffin can pay tribute to the person who has died.”

To downgrade transport emissions many funeral directors ensure fewer cars are used.  

Mr Smith added: “For keen cyclists we have a bike hearse to take the coffin and cyclists can follow it too.”

Richmond’s East Sheen Cemetery is one of over 200 natural burial sites across the UK.  

In just eight years, the number of woodland burial grounds has risen from one to 241. This alternative to graveyards replaces headstones with trees.

Green Endings is currently London’s only ecologically focused firm of funeral directors. To meet demand more traditional undertakers are adding it to their services. 

Over the last six years, funeral costs have risen by 50% with the average funeral costing £7,248, compared to eco-burials costing between £3,500- 4,000.

However, it is possible to go top-end with a green funeral. Sutton’s W A Truelove and Son supply handmade bamboo coffins and ensure fair wages for the makers.  

The flat-packed coffins arrive in the UK on container ships and cost more than regular mass-produced ones.

Steve Lapper, the company’s General Manager, said: “In retail terms, it’s like comparing Paul Smith to Primark.”

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