There is growing interest in sustainable 'Green Funerals' in Australia, which aim to make as little impact as possible on the environment. ie a reduced carbon footprint
Families wishing to have a Green Funeral for their loved one generally choose an environmentally sustainable coffin, choose not to have the body embalmed or washed with disinfectant, dress the body in biodegradable clothing, do not releasing balloons, and choose a natural burial site.
Green Funeral considerations:
Dress the body in cotton, linen, wool, a shroud or other biodegradable clothing
Do not place jewellery or other items that will not decompose on the body or in the coffin
Choose a sustainable coffin made from natural or recycled timber, cardboard, bamboo, seagrass or wicker and without metal handles
Prepare the body without the use of chemicals
Do not embalm the body
Consider a grave marker with a light footprint (natural burials usually use GPS coordinates)
Engage a Funeral Director who knows, understands and/or specialises in Green Funerals
Prepare an e-copy Order of Service that can be emailed to attendees
There is debate about whether burial is more sustainable than cremation. With technological innovations the cremation industry is reducing its emissions. The South Australian Environmental Protection Authority has produced this document (article not dated).
For the latest research, contact your local crematorium, environment department or use your preferred search engine for online articles.