Natural endings: Chorlton eco-friendly funerals show it’s never too late to go green

Funerals are never easy, but an eco-friendly company from Chorlton are offering a service with a difference.

Natural Endings specialise in green burials and in 2013 were awarded ‘Green Funeral Director of the Year’ by The Good Funeral Guide.

Green burials are a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact. They aim to conserve natural resources and habitats, reduce carbon emissions and protect worker health.

Rosie Grant runs the service and first became involved with planning funerals in 1995 whilst caring for her terminally ill mum Zoë.  She began, at Zoë’s request, to look into options for her funeral.

“My mum didn’t want to have a ‘conveyor belt’ funeral,” she said. 

“She was a very interesting woman – a prolific artist and a very committed Buddhist who came from a family of Quakers! It was important that her funeral was an accurate representation and celebration of her life.

“We held her funeral in a thatched barn surrounded by her artwork and she was buried in an icy furrowed field. It was lovely! I just wanted to help families have something similar, something different, to use their creativity to pay tribute and not be excluded from the process.”

Coffins are made from sustainable, non-toxic and biodegradable materials such as willow, banana leaf or Yorkshire wool rather than chipboard which contains poisonous formaldehyde.

Those who strive for true uniqueness can even decorate their very own cardboard casket.

Woodland burial sites come in all locations – mature woodland, dramatic hillsides or even on land shared with llamas, donkeys and peacocks in Saddleworth.  

In Manchester’s Southern Cemetery it is located in a tranquil corner marked simply by a sandstone block onto which is etched The Meadow.

Burials in The Meadow offer an environmentally friendly and cost effective alternative to traditional funerals.

It aims to provide an undisturbed and low-maintenance place of rest in a natural setting that is managed to encourage native wildlife, plants and wild flowers.

Green burials may not suit everyone, but they are not just for Guardian reading, decaf-soy-latte consuming eco-warriors.

“You do get more of your liberal thinking people,” Rosie said.

“Families that are creative such as artists and musicians but it’s mostly just people that love the outdoors: People who feel an affinity to or whose spirituality is interwoven with nature.”

So crack out the notepad and start planning. Weave your own coffin, pick out that spot on the hill and give yourself the send-off you deserve.

For more information on Natural Endings, you visit their website by clicking here

Image courtesy of Amy Buthod, with thanks.

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