Eco-friendly funeral service: France’s first undertaker riding a bicycle hearse is here
A French woman has started a strange but environmentally friendly funeral service dubbed 'Corbicyclette,' which is French for a bicycle hearse.
An unusual "cargo bike" could shake up the funeral industry in France, Euronews reported on Wednesday.
"The Corbicyclette is to propose a new ritual for families that I accompany, especially at the cemetery," said Isabelle Plumereau, creator of the Corbicyclette.
"A slow, silent, quiet procession, to the rhythm of the steps of the people who walk behind and who make the procession."
The funeral company located in Paris is called "The Sky and the Earth," and the undertaker's new cargo bike is made to transport full-sized coffins rather than the usually motorized hearses.
The goal of Plumereau's business is to bring sustainable practices into the funeral service.
"I am as attached to the form as to the substance," she said, continuing. "For me, it is very important to accompany the families by giving them meaning in the ceremony, but also by giving them beauty. Because beauty is what will also bring comfort."
Innovative but not for all
After converting the bicycle hearse to French standards, Plumereau said she already had formal authorizations to use it; she was just waiting for her insurer to give the go-ahead.
The black and lightwood bicycle hearse caught the attention of onlookers, some of whom were curious but not all of whom were persuaded.
Elyes Meziou, 49, stated, "It's extremely innovative," but he wouldn't want it for his own burial.
There are already "Corbyiclettes" like this in Denmark and the United States. Her version, however, is two meters long and equipped with electric assistance, allowing it to navigate more difficult terrain.
The first-of-its-kind cargo bike in France plans to offer its services soon.
In the U.S., the practice of terramation, or corpse composting, has been made legal in some jurisdictions. In order to turn bodies into the soil, it uses organic reduction. The dead are stored in airtight containers and covered with a sawdust and alfalfa mixture to bulk them up.
The typical crematoriums' expensive fossil fuel expenditure is avoided by these organic materials' fast accumulation and natural heat retention.
Such environmentally friendly funeral services are gaining popularity in the west.
Impacts of burials and cremation
Death doesn't only dent the relatives of a deceased but the environment too. When a person is buried, the harmful chemicals used to embalm a body seep into the earth.
Mercury-releasing gases are released during the cremation process, which employs natural gas and lasts around three hours.
The environmental impact of dying is not small when you factor in the materials used for coffins and the emissions from people traveling to a funeral.
The World Health Organization estimates that 55.4 million people died in 2019. And, in the U.S. alone, CO2 emissions from cremations surpassed 360,000 metric tonnes in 2020.
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