Environmentally-Friendly Headstone Options
Traditionally headstones are usually carved out of either a granite or marble slab. While these stones do have an understated beauty and timeless appeal, some individuals may be concerned about their sustainability. Granite and marble are often considered to be less "green" than other options because they are heavy and require extensive mining and shipping. There are a few other options that could be more environmentally friendly.
Composite Plant Tombstones
Composite plant tombstones are made with wood and plant materials such as cellulose. These tombstones are created so that they will eventually biodegrade -- though not quickly, so they will still remain for mourners. Composite plant tombstones are often used in alternative burials, such as burials that are placed under a tree. They can also be used as a temporary place of mourning where cremated remains have been scattered.
Fiberglass Composite Tombstones
Fiberglass tombstones can be made in many appearances, designed to suit the individual that is being buried. These tombstones are not biodegradable but they are still more environmentally friendly than heavy natural stone. Fiberglass tombstones will also last a long time. Marble, in particular, is fairly soft; it weathers away over time, which can be seen in older cemeteries. This will not happen with fiberglass. Fiberglass headstones can also be hollowed out to hold cremated remains, which can save space in some cemeteries and are thus being used as an alternative form of burial practice. An additional bonus to fiberglass is that it is less expensive than either marble or granite.
Bronze and other metals can be used to create a distinctive tombstone that will stand the test of time. Metal tombstones may need to be cleaned every once in a while, but otherwise they do not require significant maintenance or repair. They are more sustainable than natural stone tombstones because they don't require quarrying and shipping. They are not quite as sustainable as biodegradable tombstones or fiberglass tombstones because they do require a significant amount of raw energy to manufacture, mold, and etch.
Of course, every family should choose the headstone option that is right for themselves and their family member. Though granite and marble may not be as environmentally friendly as the above options, they still aren't very harmful in the broader scheme of things. Those who want to "go green" for their funeral can consider instead concentrating on the materials of their casket. To learn more, contact a funeral home like Maurice Moore Memorials.