Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have provided answers to frequently asked questions about the Green Endings service offering as well as issues relating to environmentally-friendly funerals.

If you want more information about how to prepay a Green Endings funeral, you can find answers to frequently asked questions by clicking the button below:

How Do Funerals Affect the Environment?

Funerals followed by a traditional burial or cremation can be resource intensive and have significant effects on the environment. Typically, the following activities generate carbon emissions and environmental impact:

  • Motor vehicles and other equipment used to conduct a funeral and related services
  • Electricity, gas and water to run plant and equipment at a funeral home, cemetery or crematorium 
  • Activities involved in preparing the deceased for a funeral 
  • Producing, preparing and delivering coffins and caskets 
  • The cremation process 
  • The burial process, including preparation of a gravesite, manufacturing and placing memorials, and maintaining a burial site
  • Producing and supplying various products and services, such as Orders of Service and memorial stationery 
  • Producing and supplying food and refreshments after funerals

Local and international research suggests that the total carbon emissions for an average funeral service range from 330kg to more than 1,400kg of CO2.

Why Have a Green Ending?

Choosing to have a Green Ending not only significantly reduces the amount of carbon emissions produced compared to a traditional funeral, but reduces the overall environmental degredation of lands and waterways.

At Green Endings we aim to return everything back to earth as naturally as possible. We do this by promoting the growth of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, which in turn brings birds and other wildlife to the area.  Water is not wasted, and pesticides and herbicides are not used to try and control nature.

Instead, a Green Ending allows nature take its course.

At Green Endings we offer you the most environmentally-sustainable cremation and burial services possible to support your green ethos.

Make your choices from our range of environmentally-sustainable coffins, shrouds and urns. Plant native trees, shrubs and flowers in your loved one's honour to promote habitat restoration. We also offset every emission created as part of the cremation and burial services we provide which makes a Green Ending a very practical, sustainable and effective option.

We also understand that you are looking for the ‘greenest’ options currenlty available. As new technologies and products are launched, we will include them in our range.

What Is the 'Greenest' Ending Currently Available?

Green Endings strives to provide you with the most environmentally friendly options that are available right now.

Right now, the most ‘green’ Green Ending is a cremation supported by choices made from our range of natural products, such as a biodegradable coffin made from natural fibres, no embalming or chemical treatments of the body, and the remains memorialised within a natural burial ground. All of the carbon emissions from this kind of funeral are off-set through our partnership with Carbon Neutral.

With these choices native flora is enhanced within the burial ground which provides a bush habitat for local fauna and minimal disturbance to the natural environment.

Although there are other ’green’ technologies available, such as aquamation and resomation, they are not yet available in Western Australia.

At Green Endings we are committed to offering you the best of the environmentally-sustainable options available around Perth. As new products and technologies are available, we will update you on what is the ‘greenest’ ending.

Is Cremation Considered 'Green'?

Cremations are more environmentally friendly than any form of burial because of the combustion process. However this does not mean cremations have no environmental impact.

During a cremation, all carbon present in the coffin and the remains is converted to C02 due to the presence of oxygen in the cremation chamber. This compares very favourably to burials where, without the presence of oxygen, all carbon present converts to methane which has 25 times the environmental impact of CO2.

Cremations also save on land use and prevent toxins from leaching into soil and underground water sources.

Is a Traditional Cremation Still Environmentally Friendly?

Traditional cremations, while not as friendly to the environment as a Green Endings cremation, are still environmentally friendly when compared to a traditional burial.

During a traditional cremation, the presence of oxygen in the cremation chamber means that all of the carbon present, including in the coffin and all it contains, converts directly to CO2. This compares favourably to burials, where without the presence of oxygen, the carbon in the coffin and all it contains, converts into methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the environmental impact of CO2.

Additionally, a traditional burial uses more materials in the coffin manufacture process, including glues and polishes, and often involves the chemical treatment of the body. These can have an impact on soil and groundwater quality.

Will Green Endings Offer Aquamation, Resomation or Promession?

Aquamation, resomation and promession are new ‘green’ alternatives to burials and cremations.

Aquamation uses a process called Alkaline Hydrolysis and involves placing remains in a chemical solution which speeds up the natural process of decay. Aquamation uses approximately 5% to 10% of the energy used in a cremation. Aquamation is currently available in some states in Australia but not in Western Australia.

Resomation uses a similar process to aquamation but with the addition of pressure. Along with the chemical solution used in aquamation, heat and high temperatures are added. Resomation is not currently available anywhere in Australia.

Promession involves freezing remains in liquid nitrogen, after which it crumbles. After drying, the remains can be collected and scattered or memorialised in manners similar to cremated ashes. This technique is not available anywhere in Australia.

We will keep you up to date about what technologies and products are availble for your Green Ending.

What Is a Natural Burial?

A natural burial is simple and natural. It is when the body is returned to nature in a biodegradable coffin and materials made from natural fibres. This allows remains to return to the earth to decompose naturally.

To further ensure a pure basis for new organic life, the use of preparatory chemicals is strictly prohibited, as is the placement of artificial tributes or commemorative items.

So that there is little disturbance to the bushland, graves remain unmarked and no monumental work is permitted within these designated natural areas. However, each grave is mapped and surveyed to ensure the ability of current and future generations to locate graves of loved ones.

Most natural burial sites offer a commemorative feature where families wishing to place a simple memorial plaque can do so at a specially designated area within the site.

Why Have a Natural Burial?

Apart from having minimal impact on the environment, a natural burial means that everything is recycled into new life as nature intended.

Natural burials require little ongoing maintenance, saving on the emissions produced by the regular mowing of grass. The greenhouse gasses produced by a natural burial are partially offset by the native vegetation on the site. The rest of the CO2 produced is offset through Green Ending’s purchase of carbon credits from Carbon Neutral.

A natural burial also promotes the growth of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, which bring birds and other wildlife to the area. Water is not wasted, and pesticides and herbicides are not used to try and control nature. Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers in your loved one's honour promotes habitat restoration.

Since a natural burial does not allow traditional coffins, natural burial grounds avoid using virgin timber as well as the glues and other toxic materials often used in coffin manufacture.

Why Can't the Body Be Embalmed When You Choose a Natural Burial?

Chemical embalming fluids contain substances such as formaldehyde and disinfectants. These can destroy the microbes in soil that cause decomposition and thereby nourish the soil.

When these chemicals are present, soil nourishment is reduced and toxic fluid can leech into surrounding soil and water systems.

What Other Advantages Are There in Having a Green Ending?

A Green Ending has far less ‘rules’ as to how it should be conducted than a traditional funeral does. This offers more flexibility in how the funeral service is personalised to truly reflect the individual and celebrate their life in a dignified and respectful way.

How Can People Find Their Deceased Family Member?

As with all cemeteries, careful records are kept of every interment and all plots are surveyed, ensuring the ability to locate graves for both current and future generations.

Are There Markers to Identify Where the Body Was Buried?

Graves remain unmarked and no monumental work is permitted within designated natural burial areas, however, in Western Australia Freemantle Cemetery offers a commemorative wall where families wishing to place a simple memorial plaque can do so.

Who Stores and Manages the Plot Location Information?

The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia maps and surveys the burial plots and stores this information as a permanent record.

How Is the Natural Burial Site Maintained?

Each bushland natural burial site and surrounding areas will be maintained and cultivated using plants indigenous to that area. Over time the bushland will become a living and lasting natural commemoration.

When families come to visit their loved ones, they will be able to experience a beautiful bushland area as a natural memorial in its entirety.

Can I Reserve Plots for My Family in the Same Area?

Yes. As with all cemeteries, you can reserve plots or sites for a Green Ending for you and your family.

Do the Carers of the Natural Burial Grounds Use Herbicides, Pesticides and Synthetic Fertilisers?

No. Pesticides and herbicides are not used to try and control nature. Instead, a natural burial allows nature take its course. Non-toxic and less resource-dependent vegetation is used for support and control of the grounds.

Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers in your loved one's honour promotes habitat restoration. 

What Regulations Govern Green Burial Sites in WA and Who Administers Them?

The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board governs the cemeteries in Western Australia as described in the Cemeteries Act 1986 .

The Board also has powers under the Cremations Act 1929 .