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Planning Retirement Online

Green and Woodland Burials

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An increasing number of people are seeking to have more control over their own funerals to ensure the ceremony reflects their own personality and beliefs.

Co-operative Funeralcare, backed by the strength of the Co-operative Group, is leading the way in expanding the range of funeral options and choices open to bereaved families who increasingly want to create a unique tribute to a unique life.

This move to an individual approach can be seen in the form of a rise in the number of woodland burial sites offering ‘green’ burials, along with a growing demand for coffins made from alternative materials.

There are now over 140 green burial grounds in the UK, most of which are affiliated to the Association of Nature Reserve Burial Grounds. They can often be found within a cemetery, separate from the main burial area. The grave is marked not by a headstone, but by a tree which is then planted in memory of the person who has died. 

Green burial grounds aim to unite farmers and local authorities in producing wildlife habitats and forests, where native trees, wild flowers and protected animals are encouraged. There is the potential for butterfly colonies, grasshoppers, insects, bats, voles and owls to multiply in these areas where the mechanical mower does not pass on a regular basis and a self supporting eco system can evolve.


It is important to note that people wanting a woodland burial have to have an alternative biodegradable coffin such as those made from willow.

Biodegradable coffins have become more popular in recent years, for a variety of reasons. For many there is an increasing concern for the environment, while others choose this option because they feel it reflects more closely the life of the person who has died.

The main types of alternative materials used to make coffins are willow, cardboard and bamboo. Co-operative Funeralcare, the UK’s leading funeral director, can provide these options. Willow and cardboard are currently the most popular choice.

Making coffins from willow follows a long line of tradition. Willow wood has long been used to ward off evil and for protection. Willow is grown and harvested each year, especially for coffin production.

The cardboard coffin comes in three types – the flat pack coffin, a woodgrain, and a white cardboard coffin.

The bamboo coffin is 100 per cent bio-degradable. It also goes through an eco friendly manufacturing process using 100 per cent natural materials. The whole manufacturing process sets out to be as ‘green’ and traditional as possible.

For more information on all our services call the Co-operative Funeralcare Client Service Centre on 0800 289 120(quoting Ref:LL1203 ) or click here


Also visit our section on 'Green and ecologically friendly burials'


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