Green Burials

Environmentally friendly options for burial, cremation and services

As more and more people become concerned about the effects on the environment of traditional burial and cremation, the consideration of a green funeral is becoming increasingly popular. A green funeral is an alternative to traditional burial or cremation because it is an environmentally friendly option . The thought behind a green funeral is to keep the process and products as natural as possible. The type of funeral service should naturally reflect an individual’s character, their way of life, beliefs and ideals.

Casket and Urn Selections
Green funerals include a casket or urn that is completely 100% biodegradable. Absolutely no plastic or metal is incorporated in the caskets or urn during their production. They are free of any stains, varnishes, oils, or animal products and only biodegradable, non-toxic glue is used. The wood used for the casket or urn should also be from sustainable, local forests.

Aside from the casket, the body must be prepared in an environmentally friendly fashion as well. This typically means that there is no embalming and no chemicals used, including cosmetics. Although, if embalming is requested by the family, a less-toxic embalming fluid may be used.

The deceased is commonly dressed in natural fiber clothing containing renewable sources, such as cotton, wool or hemp. Locally grown organic flowers or plants and grave markers that are unpolished and naturally shaped stones are also appropriate selections.


FAQ’s About Green Burials

What is Green Burial?

A modern natural (green) burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life. Green burial ensures the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects. Interment of the body is done in a bio-degradable casket, shroud, or a favorite blanket. No embalming fluid, no concrete vaults.


Why have a green burial?

Nature has intended that our bodies be reunited with the earth. All organisms that have lived, die and return to the soil…only to be recycled into new life. Constant microbial activity in the soil breaks everything down. Nature creates no waste. Everything is recycled.


How is it different from a conventional funeral service?

The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a biodegradable material.  Burial is done in a “green cemetery” without a metal casket or concrete vault. There are some conventional cemeteries that offer natural burial as well.


How does the price of Green Burial compare with conventional burials?

The cost of green burial depends on the type of service and products a family chooses.


Is a vault needed for Green Burial?

No, green cemeteries do not require a burial vault. All cemeteries have rules and regulations, presently, most conventional cemeteries require some type of vault.


How much time lapse for green burial from time of death to burial?

The usual time from death to burial is 48-72 hours.


What burial containers are considered biodegradable?

Biodegradable containers include cloth shrouds made of natural fibers, simple wooden or fiberboard caskets without special finishes or varnish, and wicker, sea grass, and bamboo caskets.


What if there isn’t a green-burial cemetery in my state?

Green burials can occur in any cemetery where a concrete vault or liner is not required by cemetery policy. Remember, a green burial is simple. It only involves an unembalmed body, a biodegradable container, and a vaultless grave. Often rural and pioneer cemeteries do not have rules requiring the use of a vault or grave liner.