The Green Burial process doesn't involve formaldehyde-based embalming, metal caskets or cement vaults. The caskets are made of simple, biodegradable material, commonly inexpensive woods or paper-based materials. Taking the search for simplicity in one's final arrangements a bit further, sometimes the deceased leaves instructions that they should be wrapped in just a basic shroud and then interred. Neither embalming nor the use of a casket is required by Federal law, it is just a matter of personal preferences, as long as the cemetery you select and local ordinances allow it.
Every year in this country, traditional burials use enough embalming fluid to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools, enough steel to rebuild the Golden Gate Bridge, and enough cement for burial vaults to build a two-lane highway from New York to Detroit. In addition to all those materials that get put into the ground, the price of a traditional burial often exceeds $6,500, not counting the actual piece land where the remains are interred. The grave marker and concrete burial vault are extra. That adds up to a lot of resources, expense and land that are consumed by each individual who opted for a traditional burial.
The earliest known "Green Cemetery" in the U.S. was the Ramsey Creek Preserve in northwestern South Carolina. Burial there does not require a casket; instead, bodies can be wrapped in a shroud or blanket. The majority of graves there are hand-dug to protect plants and reduce the impact on the surrounding land. Prices start at about $2,000, which includes the cost of the burial site. A simple pine casket can cost as little $420 and a paper-based casket starts at $50.
The registry of "Green Cemeteries" now includes California, Florida, Michigan, New York, South Carolina and Texas, with new ones being opened on an ongoing basis.
For those individuals who are looking to conserve their financial resources, so those assets can be passed on to their survivors, and return to the earth in a way that will have a minimal impact on our planet's environment, Green Burial represents an attractive, natural alternative. If you would like to learn more about the Green Burial option, as an alternative to cremation or a traditional burial, our counselors will be glad to provide all the details you will need to make your decision.