Thinking of how to use QR Codes for funerals?
Since time immemorial, burial practices have always been green. Most dead bodies were wrapped in shrouds and are buried directly into the earth. Others were placed in wooden coffins and hung up to rocks to be close to the sky. And while embalming (a way to preserve dead bodies) has been practiced in Ancient Egypt for thousands of years ago, it was only at the time of the American Civil War when this method became widely accepted and practiced until the present.
But lately, the funeral industry starts to explore the possibilities of a greener way to honor the dead. Let’s talk about QR Codes for Funerals.
What are Green Funerals
Also known as natural or eco-friendly funerals, green funerals are becoming an increasing trend in the funeral industry. The key term here is environmentally-friendly practices, and some funeral industries are already taking steps in decreasing the impact of their practices (such as traditional burial or cremation) on the environment by choosing sustainable materials, practicing reducing waste, and avoiding harmful chemicals.
In these kinds of funerals, the materials usually used are biodegradable caskets or shrouds made of natural materials like bamboo, wicker, cardboard, pine woods, or recycled paper. Lately, some funeral industries are considering other sustainable methods like burial pods (an egg-shaped or uterus-shaped pod that can be buried on the ground and grow a tree), aquamation (cremation, but uses chemical-treated water), mycelium coffins (lightweight coffins made of mycelium, a type of fungi, and with moss as its bed for easier decomposition) and even human composting.
Bodies are buried in a specialized lot intended for green burial, or a forest, or a meadow. Green funerals aim to honor the deceased in a way that is aligned with their values and beliefs, while at the same time, protecting and preserving nature.
Why Green Funerals?
The environment is suffering from too much carbon footprints caused by various industries, which includes the funeral industry. In the United States alone, about 2.7 million people die annually, with most of them being buried or cremated. These kinds of burial often use metal caskets, which takes up to 100 years to decompose. In addition, embalming fluids, which are used to preserve the body, mostly contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, which can leach into the soil and groundwater.
Cremation, despite being a cheaper way of burial, may also impact the environment, as it requires high temperatures and significant energy consumption to turn bodies into ashes. This can also release harmful pollutants in the air (the thick smoke alone, coming from the crematory, and mercury from dental fillings).
In a study conducted by the Funeral Consumers Alliance, it was found that traditional burials and cremations can have a carbon footprint of up to 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the carbon emitted by driving a car for one year.
Green funerals provide a purposeful way of dealing with loss and grief. These not only reduce the harmful impact of traditional burying and cremation on the environment, but it can potentially create more forests, more biodiversity, and a more breathable planet. And to make green funerals even greener, QR Code is the best technology to pair up with it.
The QR Code
The QR Code (Quick Response Code) is a small, square-shaped barcode that is intended to store a bulky amount of information. It was primarily used for tracking manufactured products, particularly those in Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. It can hold up to more than 7,000 numerical characters, which makes it possible for documents, communications, and other digital content to be stored in a single code. To access this information, a smartphone with a working QR scanner can be used. The user just needs to point the camera at the QR Code and once the scanner detects it, it will redirect the user to various locations online.
QR Codes for Funerals
The traditional physical memorials such as plaques, statues, and others consume materials that are chemical-rich and can be wasteful in the long run. Whereas, the QR Codes can only be laid out on a small material and scanned, and you can easily access information about the deceased.
Provide access to information
QR Codes can take mourners to a landing page where they can access information about the deceased, which includes their life story, photos, videos, and other digital memorabilia, without the need for something physical.
Enable digital tributes
Digital tributes such as online memorial pages, social media pages, and other digital contents can be stored in a QR Code. This will reduce the environmental impact of creating physical memorials.
Reduce paper waste
Some funerals may involve giving out programs and other printed materials, and this is where QR Codes can help. These can be laid out in a publication material, and can lead the mourner to a page to register, or a meeting link (zoom, google meet, microsoft teams, etc) for a virtual necrological service.
Enable virtual attendance
As written earlier, QR Codes can take a user to a page where he or she can fill out information for attendance. Users can also visit a meeting link for a virtual viewing or necrological service.
There may be among the mourners who have disabilities. QR Codes can help them access information or perform tasks related to the service using assistive technology (e.g. text-to-speech software). This will make the funeral more inclusive as well.
QR Codes can be linked into an electronic wallet account where mourners could send their donations.
Minimize carbon footprint
QR codes can reduce the carbon footprint by eliminating big, physical memorials (like statues and headstones). This requires materials and energy for production and transportation.
QR codes can only be laid out in a small piece of durable material and placed as a marker of the grave, thus saving more space in the burial site.
Encourage eco-friendly choices
Using QR Codes can help mourners and funeral industries to shift to a more environmentally-friendly step, and reduce harmful impact on nature. This way, they do not only deal with the inevitable, but they deal with it with a great purpose.