Why choose natural/green burial?

Natural burial is recycling at its best. The practice is not new to North America, and has long been commonplace in remote communities and some Indigenous communities. In most of the westernized world, however, natural burial was replaced more than a century ago by the advent of the death-care industry, which effectively separated people from long-time practices relating to care of the dead.

Today, many people are seeking a more gentle approach to after-death care. As well, the growing desire to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gases has led many to question the procedures used in conventional burials and cremation and to seek a less wasteful and more environmentally friendly approach to burying the dead. Finally, natural burial is attractive simply because it is less costly than conventional burial.

The terms ‘green burial’ and ‘natural burial’ are used to describe practices ranging from a slight variation of conventional burial to the creation of natural areas of high ecological and social value. In most instances the following features are considered essential to the concept of natural burial.

  • Embalming is not used.
  • The body is wrapped in biodegradable material.
  • The coffin or other container is biodegradable.
  • Concrete vaults are not used to enclose the grave.
  • Tombstones are not used to mark the grave.
  • Landscaping is minimal.
  • No chemical fertilizers or biocides are used.