Eco burials at GreenAcres - GreenAcres Group


Eco burials at GreenAcres

March 8, 2023

With more and more of us developing an awareness of our environmental impact, living life consciously is becoming the norm. Many of us are careful to reduce waste, our use of plastic and our carbon footprint, but did you know that we can make our funerals less harmful to the environment, too? 

Sustainability is incredibly important to us at GreenAcres. Now that eco-friendly funerals are more popular than ever, we want to talk you through what we’re doing to offer you and your family more choice while making our Parks greener, more sustainable and kinder to the environment.  

What are eco burials?  

Eco-friendly burials have less impact on the environment than traditional burials and offer a more natural setting for memorial services. Green burials – or natural burials as they’re also known – go one step further, having as little impact on the environment as possible.  

Eco burials prioritise natural, biodegradable materials – like UK-produced cardboard coffins and simple shrouds – over materials that have a detrimental effect on the earth. Those having eco burials recognise that fewer vehicles and minimal travelling means fewer emissions. They choose coffins and decorations that haven’t travelled from overseas to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum, too.  

When planning a funeral, be sure to ask your Funeral Director about the green credentials of your choices before you commit.  

Eco-friendly burials at GreenAcres 

We have six tranquil Parks, each with a unique and enchanting atmosphere. Set amidst acres of woodland and carefully maintained grounds, each one provides a beautiful setting for your final resting place, with many opportunities to represent the way you wish to be remembered for years to come.  

When it comes to your funeral, we believe that everyone should have a choice about how they’re buried and be armed with the information to make the right decision. That’s exactly what we aim to provide. We also want to be kind to the environment, which is why we’re continuing to reduce and neutralise emissions to achieve net zero across our entire business 

We’re still on a journey, but the smallest steps can still make a difference. 

How to make a cremation kinder to the planet 

While cremations are a popular choice, they use large amounts of energy and produce lots of excess CO². For that reason, cremations are not considered as green as eco burials.  

However, seeing as 78% of people are cremated in the UK, it’s important that we use eco-friendly cremation methods wherever possible. At GreenAcres, we have no cremators on site and instead work with partners in our local area to make use of unused capacity. This is kinder to the environment, as it means we’re not firing up and running another gas machine that would also not be running at full capacity.   

Electric cremators are being more widely used across the UK, too. Electric cremators produce fewer carbon emissions than gas cremators, making them a little more energy-efficient. At GreenAcres, we use electric cremators wherever possible to help minimise our environmental impact during cremations as much as we can.  

Ways to have a sustainable burial 

If you want to minimise the impact your burial will have on the environment, think about the following things when planning your own or a loved one’s funeral: 

Choose a natural coffin 

The choice of coffin is a very personal one. Eco coffins made from cardboard, willow, local wicker and UK solid wood are considered better for the environment and are acceptable at all of our Parks. Many people also opt for a simple shroud made from natural fabric that won’t harm the environment. We accommodate shroud burials at our Parks, which avoids some of the issues associated with certain coffin materials.  

Our eco and conservation policies mean metal caskets or zinc-lined coffins cannot be interred (placed in a grave) or used for a cremation service.  

Don’t embalm the body if not necessary 

Choosing not to embalm a person is kinder to the environment. Formaldehyde and other chemicals used for embalming can leak into the soil after a burial, impacting the land around it. If you don’t need to delay a funeral, you may want to skip the embalming process to make the burial as natural as possible.  

That being said, at GreenAcres, we believe that people should have a choice. We understand that embalming is important for some families, so we don’t refuse bodies that have been embalmed.  

Have a woodland burial 

A woodland burial is a more natural alternative to a traditional burial or cremation. Whether you’re planning a full burial service or a graveside or committal service, you can arrange a woodland burial at each one of our Parks. 

Our tranquil and beautiful Parks are the perfect place for you to say your goodbyes and reflect on precious memories with your loved ones time and time again. Our families take great comfort from knowing that this landscape will be sustained, enhanced and preserved for future generations – making GreenAcres the perfect place to rest and visit for years to come.  

Minimise travel by car sharing  

You can use our facilities and the surrounding meadow and woodland in many ways. This includes holding a smaller service at the burial site to minimise travel between venues. You could also encourage mourners to car share to the venue, travelling in as few vehicles to the burial site as possible. This will help keep emissions to a minimum. 

Plant a tree in memory instead of using a headstone 

Instead of using an imported headstone, you can add to the natural landscape by planting a memorial tree. Available at GreenAcres, a Living Memorial Tree will last for generations and serves as a living legacy to your loved one. The first set of ashes are scattered with a sapling tree. Once they’re interred beneath the root-ball, ashes from other loved ones within the family can be added around the tree as it grows to be a big and magnificent tribute.  

In some Parks we are also able to offer a dedicated standard Rose Bush. This provides the perfect opportunity for family ashes to be interred close to the roots in a biodegradable urn, where they can live on through the beautiful roses.  

If you’d prefer a headstone, why not opt for a wooden memorial? 87% of our memorials are wooden, and five of our Parks have no imported granite or marble, making wood a kinder option for nature. We also offer local UK stone, if that’s what you’d prefer.  

Whatever your wishes, we are here to work with you and your Funeral Director to give you a personalised service and the support you need to plan an eco-burial. Get in touch with us to find out more. 


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