Green caskets are another significant way to make a funeral more eco-friendly. At one time typical caskets were simple wooden boxes for the dead. Today they have evolved into sophisticated and highly-finished items that many find wasteful; they use unsustainable or environmentally-unfriendly materials for a short-term purpose and cannot be recycled.
Every year more than 90,000 tons of steel are used to make caskets in America. Copper and other metal alloys are also used, but in much smaller amounts. All metals are mined from the earth and are nonrenewable resources. Metal caskets cannot be recycled.
Hardwoods such as maple, cherry, black walnut, and redwood, are also used to make traditional caskets. More than 30 million board feet of hardwood lumber are used to build wooden caskets each year. High-end wood caskets are often made from mahogany, an endangered rain forest tree.
Green Casket Options
There are more options now, including eco-friendly caskets made from such sustainable materials as heavy cardboard, wicker (woven from sustainably-grown willow, seagrass or bamboo) and softwoods such as pine. Biodegradable greener caskets are also a better choice because they break down more readily in the soil and are therefore acceptable for burial in a green cemetery.
Statistics from Wikipedia from funeral industry sources.