A green burial is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. The most appealing reason is the natural process of interment in the soil, so the body can return to the Earth. This natural recycling process is environmentally beneficial and less expensive than embalming and traditional internment.
Understanding Rules and Regulations for a Green and Natural Burial
The first thing you need to understand about a green burial is any state laws governing green and natural burials. Some states allow green burials while other states prohibit this type of natural burial. You will want to be sure you follow any specific guidelines or regulations for your state.
Finding a Green Cemetery
You will need to find an appropriate site for a green burial. There are a few green cemeteries in the United States that follow natural and green burial protocols. You may find a traditional cemetery that has a designated green burial area to accommodate those wishing for a natural burial. Traditional funeral homes don't tend to endorse or promote green burials since these services undercut their business. However, a few more advance thinking funeral homes have begun to offer green burials as part of their services, so you may want to check with your local funeral homes.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Green Burial Site
Some green burial cemeteries are part of a nature preserve, serving two purposes. This type of natural burial site tends to be more rustic and natural than a traditional cemetery that features an area dedicated to natural burials but with well-defined gravesites and markers. You need to decide if you wish your burial site to become part of the natural landscape, often with just a natural stone marker, or if a traditional gravesite is more desirable.
Types of Natural Burial Containers
You'll need to decide on the type of biodegradable coffin, burial shroud, or cremation container you wish to use. Natural coffins are made without any chemicals and designed to naturally decompose. Some people prefer to keep things simple and choose a burial shroud. Whatever choice you make, the container must be biodegradable.
Plantings for Green Burials
People who choose a natural or green burial like the thought of giving something back to the environment. They often choose to have a tree planted at their gravesite. Some green cemeteries require natural vegetation to be planted over the gravesite, but usually allow a natural stone marker. You want to be sure you understand the requirements before committing to any burial plans.
Deciding on Type of Burial Service
When you opt for a green burial, you will also want to consider the type of burial service. You may prefer a traditional religious service, or find that a customized remembrance that encapsulates your life and values. Planning a funeral should include the service and any other preferences you might have.
Fundamentals of a Green Burial
You'll need to understand the fundamentals of a green burial before making your decision. You may discover that a natural burial aligns with your personal beliefs and values better than a traditional burial.