A Greener Way to Go

Many of us are trying to lead a greener life, but how many of us will continue the trend to its logical conclusion… into death? On this week’s Costing the Earth, Tom Heap takes to the ocean waves, the forest floor, and the lab, to try and suss out the ‘greenest way to go’.

Over 70% of us here in the UK choose to be cremated, and the majority of the rest are buried – ‘6 feet under’ – in traditional cemeteries. But for those who might worry about the fossil fuel cost of being burned, or the toxic embalming fluids commonly used in burial, there are other options on the table.

We take a blustery boat trip just off the Isle of Wight with one of the UK’s only ‘Marine Funeral Directors’, to hear about the specially designed coffins that help you sink to your final resting place beneath the waves. And if you don’t fancy sleeping with the fishes, how about sleeping beneath the shade of a mighty oak? Tom heads to the picturesque Downs of East Hampshire to hear how your final resting place could go hand in hand with an ambitious reforestation project. And he takes a glance into the future of the industry too, with two methods which could be out of a science fiction novel. How would you like your mortal remains to be chemically dissolved in high pressure alkali solution? Or perhaps freeze-dried and frozen, then shattered into an organic powder? And will these ‘futuristic’ new methods of getting our ‘Ashes to Ashes’, ever become available on our own shores?

Produced in Bristol by Emily Knight.

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