Eco Burial: A Guide to Green Burial

eco burial

Environmental stewardship does not have to end when a person dies. Many people have begun to consider their ultimate wishes through a green lens, allowing them to contribute to environmental protection after they die away. Eco burial sites, green burial caskets, and even green funeral rites like tree burials have sprung up as a result of this natural approach to funerals. In fact, more than half of respondents (53.8 percent) indicated an interest in eco-friendly burial choices in a 2017 study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association.

Only you and your family can determine whether a natural burial is the best option for you. The next article will offer an overview of eco burial as well as information on the usual expenses and alternatives available when selecting a natural burial. When arranging your funeral or discussing your desires with your loved ones, keep this information in mind.

What is the Difference Between an Eco Burial and a Green Funeral?

Eco burial is intended to have the least amount of damage to the environment and to save natural resources. Green burial, also known as a natural burial or eco-friendly burial, promotes simplicity and sustainability. The body is not burnt, chemically treated, or buried in a concrete vault like a traditional green burial. It’s simply buried in a biodegradable container and allowed to totally disintegrate and return to nature.

A green funeral can have a variety of qualities, but they all strive to reduce the environmental effect of end-of-life arrangements. Most of the time, these funerals employ biodegradable and ecologically friendly materials and storage containers by avoiding:

  • Embalming fluids
  • Cement or metal coffin vaults
  • Clothing made from certain materials

Traditional embalming fluid is not used in natural burials. When alternative chemical-free embalming oils are required, they can be used instead. These essential oils break down in the soil without leaving any trace pollutants behind.

Options for a Natural Burial Typical Options for a Natural Burial

There are several methods to guarantee that your final arrangements are ecologically friendly if you choose a more traditional approach. And there are other factors to consider with each alternative. Do you want to be buried in a certain spot that your friends and family know about? Do you want your ashes to be dispersed after you’ve been cremated? Do you want a traditional burial but with a green funeral home or cemetery performing the service?

Because of the large range of alternatives accessible today, it’s critical to ensure that your final wishes are written down and that your preferences are documented clearly. Include a location for the burial, such as a mortuary that is certified to provide green services. The following are some of the details you should include:

  • Preferences for the ceremony (passages read, flowers used, music, etc.)
  • Biodegradable coffins, organic or non-toxic embalming fluid, and other preferences
  • Whether or not to have a pre-viewing is a decision that must be made.

If the thought of becoming one with nature appeals to you, there are several unusual choices to consider:

  • Capsula Mundi is an Italian idea that encases the body in an organic egg-shaped container in order to nourish a tree placed above it.
  • Eternal Reef is a firm that creates an artificial reef ball out of cremated ashes, which is then placed in a real coral reef to help rebuild marine environments by attracting fish and other creatures.
  • Cremated remains will be sent into orbit by Celetis Memorial Spaceflights.

Why Should You Opt for a Natural Solution?

Eco-friendly funerals aren’t something new or unique. Most funerals were done this manner before the mid-nineteenth century, and many traditions still call for it. The reasons for choosing this style of burial differ from person to person, however, the following are the most common causes:

  • Cost-savings. Because you don’t need to buy a standard coffin, green funerals are usually less expensive than regular burials.
  • Environmentally friendly. Because of the materials utilized, they have a lower environmental effect.
  • Spiritual significance. Many people have a strong bond with nature. This method allows the departed to naturally return to the ground.


Green funeral rates vary greatly depending on geography and kind of burial place, as they do with other funeral expenditures. Plots for green burials, for example, tend to be bigger than those in a traditional cemetery, thus they may be more expensive.

A burial plot, fees to open and close the grave, a plot monument, and a one-time endowment to a permanent care fund to keep the land as a natural burial site normally cost $1,000 – $4,000 for this form of burial. It excludes the expense of a funeral or memorial ceremony, as well as any corpse processing or transportation.

For cremated remains, the cost of a plot and interment ranges from $200 to $1,000. Keep in mind that these fees do not include the cost of cremation, which ranges from $1,000 to $2,500 and is handled by a funeral home, mortuary, or crematory. Make careful to search around several funeral homes to obtain reasonable pricing. Keep in mind that bringing your own coffin might save you money. Funeral establishments are required by law to accept any suitable burial container without charging an extra price. Supposedly “environmentally friendly” caskets may be superfluous and add thousands of dollars to the ultimate expense.

The following is a list of common green burial goods and their costs:

Item Cost
Burial $1,000 – $4,000
Plot $750 – $3,500
Opening and Closing the Grave $300 – $700
Ash Scattering $200 – $300
Ash Burial $200 – $1,100
Biodegradable Urn $65 – $350


Green burial is often less expensive since it allows you to refuse unneeded services and items. In a green cemetery, you won’t have to pay for a huge headstone or the installation charges. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t think about your budget. Because of the growing popularity of green burials, a cost of $5,000 or more for a modest wood coffin is not uncommon. Applying for last expense insurance, often known as funeral insurance or burial insurance, might assist your loved ones in covering your bills.

Sites for Natural Burial

Natural burial encourages the repair of degraded soils and enables long-term land utilization. In most natural burial regions, standing monuments are not permitted. A marking flush with the earth at the head of the deceased identifies individual burials. The marks can be made of natural rocks or plaques, however, they are rarely put in concrete. Some natural burial sites choose for no physical markers, instead of relying on GPS data to pinpoint grave locations. Most green cemeteries exclude personal plantings and memorial decorations such as potted flowers, wreaths, flags, bells, and balloons in order to preserve the purely natural environment and safeguard native flora and wildlife.

If you want to be buried naturally, you’ll need to look for certain green funeral homes or natural cemeteries that are licensed to do so. You may also require special authorization from your state or county to do so. Some states allow you to perform a burial on your own property, however, this varies by state. If you’re interested, make sure to verify your state’s legislation.

Hybrid Cemeteries

A hybrid cemetery is a traditional cemetery that includes the key elements of natural burial, either across the cemetery or in a specific part. Hybrid cemeteries can get a certificate that exempts them from using vaults. This enables you to utilize any biodegradable, environmentally friendly burial container, such as a shroud or a softwood coffin.

Natural Burial Grounds

A natural burial ground’s purpose is to restore or conserve a natural setting with native plants and fauna. Many people advocate sustainable land management by eliminating fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in order to foster native ecosystems.

Conservation Burial Grounds

Environmental stewardship is taken a step further with conservation burial, which commits burial payments to land purchase, protection, restoration, and management. These are usually large swaths of land that are occasionally next to a park, critical habitat region, wildlife refuge, or nature conservancy area.

Choosing a Cemetery

Each cemetery has its own set of rules. Many green cemeteries, for example, do not excavate gravesites with machines or heavy equipment. The graves are excavated by hand instead. However, this is not always the case. Furthermore, some natural cemeteries have stringent restrictions on the kind of decorations allowed on the grounds, while others promote creative displays across the grounds. Many natural burial sites, unlike regular cemeteries, allow flowers and other plants to be planted right on top of the tomb.

Before purchasing a plot, make sure to check about any unique limitations. If you have really specific needs, check with a few different places to ensure that your final requests will be met.

Green Burial Caskets

Most green cemeteries allow – and sometimes promote – green caskets composed of basic wood, wicker, and even cardboard. Many new items are available that cater to these sorts of funerals, such as biodegradable containers made of paper, cardboard, willow, seagrass, or bamboo that may decompose with minimal environmental effect.

Providing your own green coffin rather than purchasing a pricey one from a funeral director saves a lot of money, but choosing for a burial shroud instead of a casket can save even more money. You may create a shroud (or have one made for you at a reasonable cost) or just cover your loved one in a beloved blanket or quilt made of natural materials like cotton or wool.

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