The growing demand for simple, streamlined eco-friendly alternatives now extends to every aspect of life – and death. Green burials return the body to the Earth in a way that maximizes decomposition, and minimizes carbon footprint and chemical seepage. It’s also much less expensive. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, more than half of Americans are now considering a green burial.
What Is a Green Burial?
For a basic green burial, the unembalmed body is wrapped in a simple biodegradable shroud and placed directly into the earth. This is a more eco-friendly alternative to fancy caskets that take a long time to degrade. It’s also better for the Earth than cremation, which is estimated to have a carbon footprint equal to driving from Los Angeles to San Diego. This simple type of green burial also saves families a great deal of money compared to the cost of a traditional modern internment. Many cemeteries are accommodating the requests of people for green burials in plots alongside the traditional graves of their family members. There are also less toxic embalming processes and more biodegradable caskets becoming available.
Cemeteries are beginning to set aside portions of their property for elaborate green burials that include the option of planting flowers, shrubs, and trees on their loved one’s plots. A company called Capsula Mundi is offering pods aesthetically pleasing pods designed to contain a body or ashes. A tree that is planted on top of the pod after it’s buried. The goal of some green cemeteries is to create a forest for families to stroll through and remember their ancestors. It’s important to remember that green cemeteries usually don’t allow any embalming, caskets, or tombstones. Graves are usually marked with a tree, a rock, or a small flush plaque, with GPS that notes the exact location of the body. Before you buy a plot, you should be aware that decorations such as cut flowers, flags, toys, balloons, and wreaths are usually forbidden. Green cemeteries are creating an alternative that is catching on quickly with many families.