What Is a Green Burial?
While most people understand that natural burial is the internment of a dead body back into the soil in a manner that doesn’t slow down or prevent decomposition, many still wonder about green burials. The short answer is that a natural burial and a green burial are essentially the same things: burying the deceased in the ground in a way that helps the body return to the ground and soil naturally.
While a green burial and a natural burial are very similar, in specific a green burial is a way of caring for the deceased’s remain with minimal environmental impact. The idea behind green burials is to allow decomposition to recycle the body naturally while reducing carbon emissions, and preserving the habitat.
Why Would Someone Want a Green Burial?
People are choosing a green burial more than in recent decades, mostly because they are choosing to impact the earth in a better way by reducing their “footprint.” By being buried using green products, in a green cemetery, less space is taken up, and the soil remains natural.
By thinking about how people were buried for thousands of years, natural burial is also an effort to return to the way before the world became industrialized, which in many ways, hurt the environment.
There are several reasons people choose a green burial:
- Green caskets are biodegradable and produced with carbon-neutral methods, meaning they won’t add toxins into the earth.
- They maintain the natural habitats of wherever they are buried, which includes clean groundwater and native plants and animals.
- Formaldehyde that was previously in the body would normally be absorbed back into the earth, but a green burial doesn’t allow for embalming fluids, keeping the return to the earth much more natural.
Types of Green Burials
As with many other forms of burials, there are different types of green burials that go from natural burial grounds to water burials, and beyond. Let’s take a look at some of the common types of green burials in Florida.
Natural Green Burial
In this case, a burial container, such as grave liners and vaults are not used. Bodies cannot be embalmed, and the containers used to hold the remains must be made of natural or plant-based materials. Usually their burials are done in natural environments, and the use of pesticides are not allowed to maintain the grounds.
A conservation burial takes places in a cemetery that has a conservation easement registered. It gives the land perpetual conservation of the ecological environment. This is basically a natural green burial, but with stricter standards. The burial grounds are protected from the use of toxic chemicals or metals.
A hybrid cemetery blends a traditional cemetery with a green burial space. Hybrid cemeteries have a designated parcel of land for green burials, which means burial vaults are not used here. They may also have green urns or scattering gardens options as well.
How to Have a Green Burial?
Talk with your local funeral home, like Boca Raton Funeral Home, and ask them what green burial options they have available. A natural burial should include the person being buried in a shroud, or a “green casket,” made from sustainable products from renewable sources. Wooden or steel caskets do not fall into these categories.
They should also be buried in a natural burial ground or green cemetery, without a grave liner, or outer burial container.
The grave should also be marked with a “green headstone,” which could be a natural marker, like a stone, or something planted on the grave, like a tree or flowers.
Things to Consider About Green Burials
It could be said that a fully green burial is impossible as everything we do has some sort of carbon impact. However, using recyclable materials and proper practices, one can have a greener burial that doesn’t have a big impact on the environment long-term.
If you are considering a green burial in South Florida and you have more questions about them, call The Gardens of Boca Raton Cemetery & Funeral Services at (561) 989-9190, and let them help. They have performed hundreds of funerals in the South Florida area and will be happy to answer your questions. The Gardens serve Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties.