Shrouds and Caskets
Here’s the most important thing to know: you do not have to purchase a casket (or shroud) from a funeral home. In fact, funeral homes are required by federal law to accept and use any casket that you provide, at no additional cost to you.
If you would like to choose a natural burial, you must use a fully biodegradable shroud or casket. The green cemetery you choose to work with should be able to provide you with any additional information or requirements.
Shrouds should be made of: cotton, linen, silk, hemp, wool, bamboo fleece, muslin, cheesecloth, hemp, cashmere, or jute. You can use a quilt or blanket made of these materials- you do not need to purchase a special shroud! However, purchased shrouds usually come with straps, which are useful for carrying, and lowering the body. Some also come with backboards, which make for easier carrying.
- Kinkaraco is a well-known and well-established company.
- Natural Burial Company is a perhaps the best-known green burial company, which sells both shrouds and caskets
- One can often find burial shrouds on Etsy
Caskets should be made of recycled paper or cardboard, bamboo, willow, seagrass, banana leaf, etc. They must be fully biodegradable – no traces of metal, toxic glue, plastic or varnish.
- Natural Burial Company
- Arkwood Caskets sells a pine casket kit that takes less than an hour to put together
- Northwoods Casket Company LOCAL! Based in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin: Some but not all of the caskets listed on the ‘Zero Metal’ page should be appropriate for natural burial
DIY: make your own casket or shroud
- Last Things has a fantastic array of plans and instructions for making your own casket
- CINDEA has some excellent patterns and instructions for making various types of shrouds
- Northwoods Casket Company has some information and plans, and also sells kits
- Casketplans.com sells a variety of plans for building your own casket
- Reasons why you should build your own coffin or casket: 2018 article
The vendors listed on this page provide products which should be acceptable for green burials. Please note that End of Life Alternatives does not endorse or receive any compensation from the vendors. These links are provided for your reference only, and we are not responsible for any information contained therein.