As families are becoming more interested in green burials it is important to understand your green burial cemetery options.
There are three types of green cemeteries. All three types must be certified by the Green Burial Council to be considered truly green.
Hybrid Cemeteries or Burial Grounds
Hybrid cemeteries or burial grounds are ones that can be a part of another traditional cemetery. In this case, the cemetery sets aside a part of their land to be green burial certified. The green burial portion of the cemetery must offer that burials be done without the use of a grave liner. A grave liner is a heavy concrete box, slab, or vault that a casket or coffin is traditionally placed in.
Hybrid burial grounds do not have embalming requirements. They must also allow for the use of a green funeral casket which are biodegradable.
Natural Cemeteries or Burial Grounds
Natural cemeteries or burial grounds prohibit the use of grave liners, slabs, or vaults. They also prohibit the use of embalming with traditional chemicals. And they ban burial containers that are not made from natural or plant-based materials.
Natural burial grounds must also be maintained without the use of pesticides on the lawn, so the grounds will have a more natural look to them. It is also important to note that natural burial grounds will likely limit the types and sizes of memorial markers to preserve the natural look of the cemetery.
Conservation Cemeteries or Burial Grounds
Conservation burial grounds are the greenest options. To be a conservation burial ground, a cemetery must meet all the criteria for a natural cemetery. Conservation burial grounds are actual land preserves and are owned by the government or a land trust organization. They are non-profits. Conservation cemeteries guarantee long-term stewardship of the land and the land is designated specifically for conservation. There are only seven conservation cemeteries in the U.S. right now.
Conservation cemeteries typically act as both a memorial to those buried there as well as a way for visitors to connect with nature. Many have hiking and footpaths and may be connected to other state parks.
If you have more questions about green burials or cemeteries, don’t hesitate to ask us. We are happy to help!