San Francisco, California

Green Funerals in the San Francisco Area

Green funerals seem slow to catch on in San Francisco. Only one outfit, Colma Cremation and Funeral Services, in the Bay Area is certified by the Green Burial Council.

"California's not really the leading edge in the green burial states," Green Burial Council's Joe Sehee said.

Yet more Californians eschew embalming, a major no-no in green burial. Green funerals seeks to preclude burying pollutants such as the formaldehyde in embalming fluid and many of the glues used in coffin construction.

Colma Cremation and Funeral Services doesn't offer embalming. Not on services list. Refrigeration is the key. The state of California requires refrigeration, not embalming, which gives funeral directors flexibility. As has been discovered at Colma Cremation, consumers drive the market; Bay Area funeral directors respond to requests.

A green funeral at Colma Cremation will get you a fiberboard, cloth-covered casket. No lead or steel liners that sit in the ground refusing to decompose for centuries.

As for burial, the concrete vault requirement asserted by cemetery operators pertains to keeping cemetery lawns level. A number of cemeteries are skipping the floor component and keeping the side walls so that green as well as Semitic burial requests can be met.