Funerals are going green thanks to a North Carolina company

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How Funerals Are Going Green


Lisa Sorg isn't uncomfortable talking about death.

In fact, she has lain in the type of coffin she wants to be buried in.

"I don't find it morbid, I find it actually peaceful," she said.

The coffin is simple -- a wooden pine box.

Simple is how Sorg lives, and that's how she wants to die.

"I'd like to live a long time, but when it's time to go that's what I'm going in," she said.

Sorg and other family members plan to have a green burial -- a process that allows the body to recycle naturally and doesn't involve embalming.

Burial vaults are also not allowed and the caskets must be biodegradable.

Sorg has reached out to Piedmont Pine Coffins located in Chatham County.

The husband and wife team, Donald and Nicole Byrne, specialize in green burials and saw growth in the movement has caused them to see an increase in business.

Photos of the green coffins:

Green funerals
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Funerals are going green thanks to a North Carolina company
Photo: WGHP
Photo: WGHP


Photo: WGHP
Photo: WGHP
Photo: WGHP
Photo: WGHP
Photo: WGHP
Photo: WGHP

"Fifty percent of our customers [are] online from all over the country. The other 50 percent are local and word of mouth clients in central North Carolina," Donald Byrne said.

"Our customers are individuals who want to take ownership of their burial process," Nicole Byrne added.

The customers are looking for an option that is both cost-efficient and eco-friendly.

Piedmont Pine Coffins says its hand-made caskets are under $1,200.

"A casket at a funeral home that's made out of hard-wood could be $3,000 to $5,000," Donald Byrne said.

"I want to be buried simply and inexpensively and let people carry me in their memories," Sorge said.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral with burial (including a vault) was $8,508 in 2014.

Deborah Parker, a facilitator for Death Café, a group that meets in Greensboro monthly to talk about death with no agenda.

Parker says whether a green burial is for you or not people should know that they have a choice.

"People don't know what their options are," she said.

She says families should not only have a conversation about their options, but also develop a written plan.

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