Coffin free burial with a shroud only ‘container’

Almost 200,000 Australians died last year. This was far more than usual.

The effects of living with coronavirus and an ageing population saw a 15.3 per cent bump in deaths in 2022, compared to the historical average, provisional mortality statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

PICTURE: A shrouded body without a coffin resting on a supporting board for carrying purposes. Supplied.

But, even without the pandemic, the number of people dying in Australia each year is increasing all the time.

Emily McPherson, in the story Composting, water cremation and shrouds – why sustainable burials are on the rise (9News, May 11, 2023) reports that:

Yearly deaths are set to more than double from 142,000 in 2012 to 300,000 by 2050.

All of this has led to a growing problem – where and how will we continue to bury our dead?

Cemeteries are fast running out of space.

In Sydney, the city’s cemeteries are predicted to be full within a decade.

A lack of cemetery space has led to burials becoming more expensive and less popular – about 70 per cent of human remains are now cremated. 

At the same time, environmentally conscious families – or their dying loved ones – are demanding more in the way of sustainability from the $1.7 billion death industry in Australia.

All of this has led to a rapid rise in eco-friendly funerals and the introduction of alternative burial methods, industry experts say.

So, what options are out there if you’re looking to organise a sustainable burial or funeral? 

Here are some of the more unusual methods available, including one that isn’t legal here yet, but could be heading to Australia soon.

Zenith Virago (pictured below) has been an advocate for natural endings that respect Earth law for decades so it’s not surprising for Emily McPherson to report that Virago ‘was certain human composting (see picture above of a human composting facility in the US) would become a reality in Australia and people were already asking for it.’

“I can tell you probably once a week someone says to me I want (composting). People are looking for an alternative, that is not just better environmentally, but also more in keeping with their lifestyle,” Zenith said.

Read the full story here: Why sustainable burials are on the rise.

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