What is “Green” or Natural burial?
“Green” or Natural burial is an alternative way of burying a deceased person. When a natural burial takes place it is carried out in an environmentally friendly way. In a “normal” western burial there are a lot of chemicals involved when embalming or preserving a body for viewing.
A “green” or natural burial often eliminates many of the additional chemicals needed. When the body remains in its natural state the decomposition is not inhibited and is able to go back into the earth. It may be buried in a natural biodegradable container or shroud. The grave doesn’t use a box or vault which allows the body to be in contact with the soil.
Natural burial has many benefits.
To start it can be less expensive than a typical burial. Eliminating heaving metal or wood caskets cuts out a lot of cost. Having a natural burial makes its goal to be as green as possible as a result it eliminates the need for excessive adornments and chemicals for preservation. When you remove the bulky casket, the chemicals and an excessive head stone that cut quite a bit of the cost right there. Not only is natural burial good for the environment, it can be good for the budget.
It is Good for the Environment
According to Wikipedia
“Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:
- 30 million board feet (70,000 m3) of hardwood caskets
- 90,272 tons of steel caskets
- 14,000 tons of steel vaults
- 2,700 tons of copper and bronze caskets
- 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete vaults
- 827,060 US gallons (3,130 m3) of embalming fluid, which usually includes formaldehyde.
As you can see, going with a natural burial is good for the environment simply because of the mass amount of non-biodegradable materials that are being put into the earth.
Natural or green burial promotes and creates restoration of bad soil and allows for long term “reuse” of the land. Natural burial leaves out the use of formaldehyde or other embalming fluids. When these fluids are in use they go into the earth and also can pose a risk to funeral workers.
Most caskets are designed to prevent decomposition. There are caskets you can purchase that are biodegradable and more environmentally friendly.
If you want to mark a natural gravesite there are a variety of ways to do so. Planting a tree on the burial site. Writing their name on a natural rock or wood. You can also record gps coordinates if there is no marker.
Is Green Burial Best for You?
As they say, ‘“to each, their own”. Everyone chooses different paths when it comes to preparing for the end of life. Natural burial is just one of those options. It has its many benefits both environmentally and financially. It also can be a great way to honor someone who valued green living. Find out more information about natural burial here.