Choosing Green Burial
Concerns about pollution, appropriate land and energy use, and the de-personalization of the dying process, as well as a Baby Boom demographic that puts 80 million Americans over the edge in the next couple of decades, are driving the natural burial trend. (National Funeral Directors Association)
1. Embalming is rarely required by law. The Federal Trade Commission and many state regulators require that funeral directors inform consumers that embalming is not required except in certain special cases. Embalming provides no public health benefit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Refrigeration is an alternative to maintain a body while awaiting a funeral service.
2. Biodegradable Caskets. Many exciting options exist when one foregoes the conventional steel and hardwood models on the showroom floor. For a green burial in a natural cemetery, the body can simply be wrapped in a shroud, family quilt, or favorite blanket.
3. Vaults or Grave Liners are not required by law. In a conventional cemetery, sealed caskets are routinely interred in steel or concrete vaults, the sole purpose of which is to prevent the sod or turf of the cemetery lawn from sinking. You roll back the sod from a modern cemetery and you’ve got a parking lot. No vaults or sealed caskets are allowed in a green cemetery.
4. Cremation is not better for the environment. Burning uses fossil fuels and releases toxic chemicals from the¬ embalming fluid and casket (if used), mercury from dental work, and possible pollutants from other un-extracted medical devices into the atmosphere – – turning all of a body’s natural nutrients into air pollution. If one wishes to be cremated, ashes can be interred or sprinkled in a green cemetery.