Green Standards for Funeral Homes

A funeral home doesn't need to pay some organization $250 to be an "approved" green funeral home. In fact, a lot of the funeral homes sporting a green logo on their websites mention nothing about green funeral options in the website text. Consumers should be suspicious of such empty PR hype or green-washing.

Any funeral home can offer environmentally sensitive merchandise and services.

Here are some questions to help you rate your local funeral homes.

  • Does the funeral home offer the option of body preparation without embalming (setting features and cleansing only)—as an option to be selected by the family, NOT as a requirement?
  • Does the funeral home offer the opportunity for viewing without embalming—private family viewing at a minimum?
  • Does the funeral home offer some sort of viewing for a larger group after refrigeration perhaps or within a state's mandated time-line?
  • Does the funeral home have biodegradable caskets included on the casket price list?
  • Among the biodegradable caskets, are there low-cost options (to serve all income levels)?
  • Is at least one of the biodegradable caskets locally made?
  • Does the funeral home offer burial shrouds made of natural material?
  • Does the funeral home offer an economical van for body transport rather than requiring the use of a hearse?
  • Does the funeral home provide information on local cemeteries that permit green burials?
  • Is the price for a green option a lot more expensive than the price for an Immediate Burial?
  • If so, what additional goods and services are included? Are those goods and services the family is likely to want?
  • Are package prices being offered for "green" options that do not allow a family to reduce costs by declining certain services or merchandise they might not want?
  • How are the prices at this funeral home compared to the prices at other funeral homes in a 35-mile radius if cost is a concern to the choices a family will make?
  • If the family needs a service that requires embalming such as out-of-the-country shipping, is the funeral home staff trained in using and have on hand non-formaldehyde, non-toxic chemicals?
  • Does the funeral home have a website that includes itemized pricing—both the general price list (GPL) and casket price list (CPL)— so the family doesn't have to drive to get the needed information, saving printed paper as well?