Sharp Funeral Home is proud to be included with a select group of funeral service providers certified and approved by the Green Burial Council.
The Green Burial Council is a non-profit organization working to make burial more sustainable, economically viable, and meaningful; and aims to reduce carbon emissions, waste, and the use of toxic chemicals in the cemetery and funeral fields. They also encourage the use of burial as a means of facilitating the restoration, acquisition, and stewardship of natural areas throughout the United States.
Our Green Burial options range from a Graveside Ceremonies within a Green Cemetery or Natural Burial within a conventional cemetery to a full visitation and funeral followed by Green or Natural Burial. Cremation options will be provided within the standards of the Green Burial Council.
What is “Green Burial”?
Green Burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative for funeral and burial where the body is returned to the earth to decompose as naturally as possible and be recycled into new life. A Green burial does not preclude you from having an opportunity for private family time to say good-bye, a visitation, and memorial ceremonies to recognize and celebrate the life of your loved one.
What is Basic Care?
Basic Care is the care that is provided to your loved one in preparation of private family time to say good-bye. This care will include bathing and washing, combing of your loved one’s hair, and application of a topical disinfectant. We check for valuables and return any items to your family with an inventory list. We gently position your loved one’s body and gently close their eyes and mouth to natural lines of closure. We will remove any soiled clothing or sheets and will dress them in a hospital gown and cover them with a clean sheet until we receive the clothing you desire to use for their burial. The use of our temperature controlled care facility to facilitate temporary preservation is also provided. With Basic Care, there is no Embalming Care provided. For extended public visitation periods, it may be necessary to use dry ice to facilitate an open casket visitation period.
What is the purpose of a Casket?
A casket holds a person with respect and dignity while in our custody. A “green” casket is a container, generally manufactured of wood, designed for the viewing of a deceased loved one in the funeral home for both private family time of goodbye and public visitation periods. The casket also serves as dignified and respectful storage for the body and allows for ease of transportation to the cemetery for interment or entombment. A green casket will be biodegradable.
What materials are used in Green Caskets?
There are several materials that may be used for Green casket construction, ranging from simple pine to woven sustainable materials. Bamboo is grown and harvested at licensed plantations (when it is cut down at the root, it takes just 59 days to grow back to full height without need for re-planting). Willow is cut from bushes known as crowns which remain harvestable for approximately 40 years before they need to be re-planted.
These caskets will biodegrade, leaving nothing but human remains within six months to one year from the time of burial. These caskets are also appropriate for cremation; an added benefit is the lack of toxins released into the environment during the cremation process.
How does burial occur without use of an Outer Burial Container or Vault?
In conventional burial, an outer burial container is placed in the ground, in a concrete box form and helps support the weight of the earth to prevent the grave from collapsing. It is a cemetery requirement that aids the cemetery in maintenance of their grounds.
To facilitate burial without an outer burial container, biodegradable caskets or a burial shroud are used to shelter the individual. Extra earth will be placed on top of the grave at the time of burial and it may be necessary to add additional earth at different intervals. Not all cemeteries will offer this type of interment, and we will advise you and assist you in locating a cemetery or burial ground that allows for natural burial.
In instances where there is no natural or green burial options available, the ceremonies provided can still reflect Green or Natural care, the casket can be a “Green” casket, and the minimum environmental impact container can be used.
Can survivors participate in the burial process by watching the burial process?
Yes, most times survivors are invited to participate in the completion of the burial process.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is a process to prepare a deceased human person for final disposition by reducing them to bone fragments and skeletal particles through intense heat and flame. Cremation is a two-step process. After this first step has taken place, a person’s remains, mainly bone fragments and skeletal particles, are gathered and these remains are placed in a processor, creating a uniform powder-like texture. Due to the irreversible nature of cremation, most states require a waiting period before the actual process may begin. In Illinois, at least 24 hours must pass before cremation may be authorized.
We own and operate our Cremation Center, so your loved one never leaves our care. Our facility is always open for your inspection.
Cremation does not exclude the need to recognize an individual and a life lived; or the need for dignified and respectful treatment of a body including, when desired or necessary, cosmetic restoration, clothing, and other related care; or the need for a private or public gathering; either with or without ceremony or ritual; or the need to select and arrange for meaningful final placement of a body following cremation; or the need to permanently and appropriately memorialize the life and the individual.
Cremation uses fewer resources than other disposition choices but it also has an environmental impact. The Green Burial Council is working towards provisions to help identify ways to reduce or off-set the environmental impact of cremation. The main objective is to offer viable options for reducing the “eco-footprint” in whatever manner that is deemed appropriate by survivors.
What is the purpose of a Cremation Container?
A Cremation container holds a person with respect and dignity while in our custody and is designed for the viewing of a deceased loved one for private family time of good-bye and any public ceremonies. A container will also allow for ease of transport and proper placement into the cremation chamber, also with respect and dignity. A cremation container also facilitates the cremation process and allows for safe handling of an individual for our associates while in our care. A proper cremation container prevents leakage of bodily fluid. Finally, the cremation container will be used during the identification process. Because we have standards to facilitate dignity and respect, we require a cremation container. Most “green” burial caskets will serve this intended purpose.
What is the purpose of an Urn?
An urn is a specialized container to hold a person’s cremated remains. It will keep a person’s cremated remains together and protects the integrity of the cremated remains. Urns can be used for the following manners of final disposition: Interment, Entombment, Scattering, or Keepsake/Memorialization. We have urns that are designed to be biodegradable for scattering or for burial purposes or burial at sea.