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Green Burials

Green Burial Services

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What is a Green Funeral?

A green funeral incorporates environmentally-friendly options to meet the needs of a family requesting a green service.

It may include any or all of the following basic options: no embalming or embalming with organic, formaldehyde-free, products; the use of sustainable biodegradable clothing, shroud or caskets.

Crawford Funeral Home is one of a select number of funeral homes who meet the criteria for providing green funeral service by the Green Burial Council; Crawford Funeral Home is a 3 leaf certified provider, meeting GBC’s highest criteria. 


Green Burial Council is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmentally sustainability in the field of funeral service. These offerings allow for a funeral to take place without the use of toxic or non-biodegradable materials/chemicals. Natural, sustainable and local products and GBC approved caskets and shrouds are available to enclose and transport the body. Suitable preparation of the body for a green funeral service consists of refrigeration, the use of topical sprays/compounds, or arterial embalming using GBC approved fluids which is a complex mix of essential plant-based oils.  Home wakes, public visitations at the funeral home, church funerals and graveside services are options that may be arranged.

For additional information, please visit the Green Burial Council at:

What is a Natural or Green Burial?

In a “purist” natural or green burial, the body is buried, without embalming, in a natural setting.

Any shroud or casket that is used must be biodegradable, nontoxic, and of sustainable materials.  With this type of burial, traditional standing headstones are usually not permitted.  Instead, flat rocks, plants or trees may serve as grave markers; some cemeteries use GPS to mark the locations of graves.

Natural or green burials may be a significant departure from funeral traditions that many families have participated in over the decades.

Some of the requirements for green burial locations may seem too restrictive.  For others, the limited time requirements for Green Burial may impose hardships for participation of family from great distances. Special circumstances such as Medical Examiners cases or an autopsy my force changes to green burial plans.

What is a Green Burial Site?

Cemeteries offering Green burial or natural burial sites attempt to minimize the use of:

  • Fossil fuels
  • Toxic Chemicals (Pesticides or formaldehyde embalming)
  • Retain natural flora, fauna and appearance of the burial site

Are there any religious considerations for a Green Burial?

There are no religious restrictions surrounding Green Burial. Catholics should strongly consider bringing the body to Church for a Funeral Mass prior to burial. A simple casket or enclosure should be used for the Mass and required transportation.

What types of environmentally friendly merchandise are available for Green Burials?

·         *  Recycled cardboard caskets

·         *  Willow, Seagrass and Bamboo caskets, GBC approved

·         *  Caskets from renewable wood

o  Use of plant-based glues

o  Use of water-based, non-toxic finishes

o  Natural nut oils and Bees was finished

o  Unbleached cotton, wool, bamboo and hemp interiors

·         *  Bamboo Burial Shrouds, GBC approved

·         *  Recycled Stationary Products


If there is no embalming, how is the Funeral Service scheduled?

  • Time is a limiting factor when considering Green Burials.
  • We offer dry ice and other non-toxic natural products that can assist and preserve the deceased’s remains for a limited period of time.
  • Organic embalming, using non-toxic, environmentally friendly products lengthens the time between death and burial.

EXCLUSIONS:  Certain types of medical situations including Medical Examiners cases, Autopsy cases and Organ Donors MAY require special post mortem care to permit Green Burial. These special situations should be discussed with your Funeral Director to determine if Eco-Embalming or other procedures will be required to insure that the Green Burial service you select can be completed in a timely manner.

What is Eco-Embalming?

Eco-Embalming using Green Burial Council approved biodegradable, natural and non-toxic fluids provides a limited or temporary delay in decomposition.  Eco-embalming may permit delayed public visitation, home vigils, transportation and/or services to be an option when considering green burial.

NOTE: ECO-EMBALMING uses only natural, non-toxic products and thus burial in a Green Burial Section is permitted. (Use of traditional embalming requires that burial take place in a traditional burial section of a cemetery NOT in the Green Burial Section.)

Is Cremation Green?

The debate continues …cremation does conserve land and uses fewer resources….. BUT…..the 2 - 4 hour cremation process is responsible for airborne emissions including mercury from dental amalgam and requires use of non-renewable fossil fuels.

Green Cremation occurs when...

  • The body is prepared without embalming or with formaldehyde free organic alternatives
  • A simple, environmentally friendly container is used for the incineration
  • Natural burial of cremains takes place when a biodegradable urn or container made from recycled or natural materials
  • Scattering of cremated remains is done sensitively in a scattering garden or elsewhere with minimal environmental impact or public display or interference.
  • Eternal Reefs – This company takes the deceased’s cremated remains and incorporates them into a reef that is placed in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico to aid marine life. Locations are determined by permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Local Cemeteries offering Green or Natural Burial options:

Each cemetery has specific requirements for Green Burial which must be carefully observed

  • Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 2461 Lake Ave., Rochester
  • Ascension Garden Cemetery, 1900 Pinnacle Rd., Henrietta
  • Mt. Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mt. Hope Ave., Rochester
  • White Haven Memorial Park, 210 Marsh Rd., Pittsford

Additional Information:

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