Environmental Considerations: How Cremation Reduces Carbon Footprint

By: Alterna Cremation
Monday, July 17, 2023

As you put your end-of-life wishes in order or make arrangements for the funeral of a loved one, there are countless decisions to make. One of the most pivotal is whether to choose burial or cremation.

For many people, religion and cultural influences will strongly affect the decision. Increasingly, the environmental impact of various disposition methods is also a determining factor.

At Alterna Cremation, we're often asked about the environmental considerations associated with the cremation industry. In this post, we'll provide some straightforward information about the carbon footprint associated with cremation and how it compares to traditional burial:

What Is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body using high heat and flame. It typically takes two to three hours at a normal operating temperature between 538 and 1093 degrees Celsius (1000 - 2000 ℉).

Cremation Vs. Traditional Burial

Many (though not all) traditional burials involve embalming and the use of an elaborately finished casket. The environmental concerns associated with burial are numerous and can include some or all of the following:

  • The leaching of toxic embalming fluids into the soil
  • The numerous resources used to build the casket
  • The amount of space burials take up on the planet
  • The emissions and energy involved in heavy machinery for digging, the transportation of the body, and the operation of the funeral home

In contrast, cremation requires significantly fewer resources. Let's take a closer look:

Cremation requires significantly fewer resources, is faster, has no chemicals leaching into the soil, no gas for heavy digging equipment, and often uses less fossil fuels for transportation, etc.

Environmental Benefits of Cremation

Low Energy Output

Cremation involves significantly less energy output, resources, and emissions than a traditional burial. Its carbon footprint is about one-third the size of a conventional burial, and it consists of the reduction of processes such as embalming, digging, and transportation.

Biodegradable Urns

Biodegradable urns make the interment of cremated human remains an even more environmentally friendly option. Many people choose to simply scatter the ashes of a loved one without an urn or even use them to create the building blocks of a coral reef.

Requires Minimal Space

While a traditional burial requires a significant amount of space and disruption to the surrounding environment, cremated remains are comparatively minimal and can be further reduced in a variety of ways.

Does Cremation Contribute to Climate Change?

Although cremation is associated with fewer environmental impacts than traditional burial, the reality remains that, yes, it does still produce carbon emissions. Using up-to-date, high-quality filters and even alternative energy sources can all contribute to further minimizing the environmental impacts of the cremation process.

Winnipeg Cremation Services

At Alterna Cremation, our services offer a simple, dignified alternative to traditional burial that comes with far fewer environmental impacts and concerns. If an eco-friendly funeral is important to you or your loved one, consider our direct cremation package, and don't hesitate to reach out to our crematorium in Winnipeg with any specific inquiries.


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