About Natural Burials
The terminology: Although “Green Burial” is common, “Natural burial” is the preferred term as it is more specific and clear. “Green” can and is being used lightly and commonly for things which are in truth not very “green.”
Natural burial involves:
– not being embalmed
– being buried in a simple biodegradable shroud or casket, with no grave liner
– three to four feet in the earth
– usually without an upright headstone
– usually with more family participation
The cost of a natural burial plot is usually similar to a conventional plot. However, as conventional caskets and liners are not used, families can realize savings, especially if the loved one is buried in a simple quilt or shroud.
Different Types of “Green Cemeteries”
Did you know? There are different types of green cemeteries:
- Green Cemeteries allow only natural burial – no conventional burials
- Hybrid Cemeteries have a spot or area set aside for natural burial, within a larger conventional cemetery.
- Conservation Cemeteries are the “greenest” option. Conservation cemeteries are green cemeteries which go one step further by committing burial fees to pay for land acquisition, protection, restoration, and management. It’s both a natural cemetery and a nature preserve! Conservation cemeteries involve an established conservation organization that holds a conservation easement or has in place a deed guaranteeing long term stewardship.
Many (but not all) green cemeteries are certified by the Green Burial Council, and listed on their website.