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.
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, tradition standing headstone 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.
Cemeteries offering Green burial or natural burial sites attempt to minimize the use of:
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.
If there is no embalming, how is the Funeral Service scheduled?
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.
Eco-Embalming using Green Burial Council approved biodegradable, natural and non-toxic fluids provides a limited or temporary delay in decomposition to permit delayed public visitation, transportations and/or services and may 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.)
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.
Each cemetery has specific requirements for Green Burial which must be carefully observed