Green, or Natural, Burial is viewed as one of the most environmentally friendly burial options. There are no carbon emissions produced through the process of cremation, nor is a loved one chemically treated through embalming. The process of Natural Burial allows loved ones to be buried in a way that does not inhibit decomposition but allows the body to be naturally recycled.
To be buried in a true Natural Cemetery, the loved one is placed in a fully biodegradable casket made from sustainable materials, options include bamboo, reed, sea grass and wood, without the traditional preparation of embalming, other than basic bathing and washing. Services may then be schedule in accordance with the wishes of the decedent and their family, and then escorted to a Green Cemetery. At the cemetery, graves are hand dug, again eliminating carbon emissions through the use of machinery (yes, we really do hand dig!), and the casket is then lowered into the grave space using natural fiber ropes. Unlike traditional burials, caskets are placed directly in the earth, without the used of a concrete Outer Burial Container. (Outer Burial Containers, as typically required by cemeteries to protect the casket, as well as to support the weight of the earth above the casket over time, so that the ground doesn’t cave in as heavy equipment is driven over it in the future.) Family and guests are then welcomed to take a moment of reflection and place a shovelful of dirt on the casket at the conclusion of any graveside services. Memorials and monuments for Natural Burial are designed to preserve the natural settings. Many times, a river rock, or other simple marker is placed at the grave site to mark that a loved one is interred. Some cemeteries allow the engraving of the rock, others do not but instead have a wall recognizing those that are buried.
The planning of a natural burial section in a cemetery also looks to maintain the natural setting, working within the natural curves and landscape without the creation of harsh straight lines. The grounds and landscaping should be planted with native vegetation, and the ground is generally minimally maintained to encourage natural processes.