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Can I have an eco-friendly funeral?

View profile for Leah Woodnott
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Can I have an eco-friendly funeral?

I recently visited the Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground in Chelmsford which is a private natural burial ground which specialises in eco-friendly burial and ash interments.

Old Park Meadow has over 34 acres of wildflower meadows and young woodland and their concept is that over time the graves become part of the natural landscape. There are no headstones or statutes, so that the area is fully biodegradable and can be left in a natural state.

I work in the Wills and Probate Team and after visiting Old Park Meadow, it made me think about my own clients and what wishes they often chose.  I have found that amongst my clients, having an eco-friendly funeral option is growing in popularity. The demand for biodegradable coffins also seems to be trending now, where biodegradable coffins can be made from recycled paper, banana leaf, bamboo, wool wicker or willow.

Seven ways in which you can have an eco-friendly funeral

  1. Have the funeral service printed on recycled paper

  2. Consider having an alternative to a headstone – a tree or flowers as a marker

  3. Choose a more sustainable coffin material

  4. Do not embalm the body

  5. Ask everyone who attends the funeral to plant a memorial tree

  6. Consider the transport – electric hearses are now available

  7. Consider where you get the funeral flowers from – often flowers are shopped long distances and come in plastic.  Consider locally grown flowers.

Did you know that you can include in your will what your funeral wishes to be. 

For example, you can stipulate whether you have a preference to be buried or cremated.  You can also leave a detailed Side Letter to your will outlining any bespoke funeral wishes that you may have, if you have not already put in place a funeral plan.

What can I include in my Side Letter about being eco-friendly?

The Side Letter could include details about the following:

  • Having an eco-friendly funeral

  • Being buried/cremated with certain items

  • Where you would like your funeral to take place

  • What you would like to wear

  • What songs you would like to be played at your funeral


If you would like to discuss making a will to include your bespoke funeral wishes, then please contact our wills specialists.  

I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217609 or