Eco-friendly burials |

Eco-friendly burials

NNBW Staff

Green is the new black in funerals as biodegradeables come into vogue.

Green business practices are making inroads into the funeral industry. When making funeral arrangements, families can choose to lighten the environmental footprint of burial.

The question, says Tim Fanelli, comes up with a majority of the families making arrangements at Northern Nevada Memorial Cremation and Burial Society.

Fanelli works as a funeral arranger at the society in south Reno.

Northern Nevada Memorial Cremation and Burial Society is the first funeral home in Nevada to win certification from the Green Burial Council.

The council has developed a set of standards to reduce the environmental impact of burial and cremation.

Northern Nevada Memorial, for instance, offers biodegradable urns to families who choose cremation services. Caskets woven from bamboo or willow are available. Embalming doesn’t involve use of formaldehyde if families choose a green burial option.

The Green Burial Council requires that materials used for caskets must be harvested in an environmentally sensitive manner. Beginning in September, it also will require that casket lining material must either be natural cotton or hemp, for instance or fully biodegradable in the ground within six months.

The society also encourages development of burial grounds that are created with naturalistic standards or set aside land for conservation purposes.

About 200 funeral homes nationwide have agreed to the standards, says Joe Sehee, executive director of the nonprofit Green Business Council.

Northern Nevada Memorial Cremation and Burial Society is owned by Walton’s Inc., a group of funeral homes headquartered in Reno.