Sustainable end-of-life arrangements: an overview

Carubia, Jennifer and Lowe, Christopher Nathan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3893-7371 (2013) Sustainable end-of-life arrangements: an overview. Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2013 . pp. 490-494.

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


The aim of this research was to assess the feasibility of implementing alternative end-of-life arrangements. Britain is predicted to run out of burial space in 30 years time with some areas having already run out and others limited to 10 years or less. Countries around the world, including America and those in Europe, seek to employ a lower carbon footprint and when coupled with an increasing population (and annual death rate) there is a need to seek alternative sustainable end-of-life processes and/or adapt current procedures to reduce their environmental impact. Current statistics show that less than 26% of the UK population opt for burial as an end of life arrangement. Although this appears to be a low percentage, this figure is still over 200,000 people per year. The remaining 74.4% of people in UK currently choose to be cremated. Crematoria around the world emit both CO2 and mercury which contribute significantly to the anthropological impact on the planet. This research sought to assess the acceptance of alternative and/or adapted methods within a broader context of land space, toxic emissions and public and religious requirements. In order to explore this, primary and secondary data was collected through a review of pertinent literature and semi-structured interviews were conducted with industry professionals. Findings suggested that more sustainable alternative processes including Alkaline Hydrolysis (also known as Resomation©) and Cryomation, are not likely to be implemented in the UK in the short-term (though Resomation is currently in practice in seven US states), and adaptation of current methods is key to reducing the current environmental impact of the funeral industry. Adaptations include “green” or “natural” burial, a technique known as “lift and deepen” and the potential use of renewable energy within crematoria. Furthermore, this research has suggested that the funeral service element of the process has potentially the greatest environmental impact (corroborating the findings of the recent study by Keijzer1). Further detailed investigation into this preliminary stage of the end-of-life process in the UK and in other countries, including America, is being developed.

Repository Staff Only: item control page