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green burial new hampshire

Green burial New Hampshire and Vermont

A green burial is a simple and natural alternative to the conventional burials most of us are familiar with. It causes minimal environmental impact by conserving natural resources, reducing carbon emissions, protecting worker health, and preserving natural habitat. And green burial is becoming more popular in New Hampshire. 

The Green Burial Council, an independent, nonprofit organization working to bring awareness to natural burial options,  sets the standards for what the organization calls “environmentally sustainable death care.”

According to the Green Burial Council, the total estimated number of green burial cemeteries in the United States and Canada as of March 18, 2022, is 350, though there are more that do not require vaults or have not been reported.

What does green burial entail?

In its simplest and purest form, a green burial doesn’t use concrete vaults, traditional coffins with metalwork, or embalming

chemicals. Instead, the body is wrapped in biodegradable shrouds or placed in a pine coffin and laid to rest where it can decompose and eventually become part of the earth.

The idea of a green burial may sound like another trend of the eco-conscious, but it’s actually the way people have cared for their deceased for thousands of years. The practice of embalming is relatively modern and did not begin until the American Civil War, when the families of soldiers killed far from home requested that their bodies be preserved and returned  intact. It has been part of traditional burials ever since.

There are no impediments to green burial in New Hampshire other than local cemetery bylaws. NH mandates that each town provide burial space for its residents, so local cemeteries have opportunities for green burials.

According to Mary Woodsen of Cornell University and Greensprings Natural Preserve in Newfield, New York, burials in the United States use approximately:

  • 4.3 million gallons embalming fluid, 827,060 gallons of which is formaldehyde, methanol, and benzene
  • 20 million board feet of hardwoods, including rainforest woods
  • 1.6 million tons of concrete
  • 17,000 tons of copper and bronze
  • 64,500 tons of steel
  • Caskets and vaults leaching iron, copper, lead, zinc and cobalt

Interest level in green burial

  • AARP 2007 Survey 42%
  • Kates-Boylston 2008 article mentioning poll 43%
  • US Catholic Magazine 2011  80%
  • FAMIC Harris Poll 2015  64%
  • Medium article exit poll 2016  79%
  • 2015 GBC Survey of cemeterians: 45% of families would have chosen cremation
  • Kates-Boylston 2021 Survey 84%   
  • 2022 NFDA Survey 60.5%

Green burial New Hampshire cemeteries

Acworth Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Acworth, NH 03601

Calvary Cemetery

Catholic Hybrid Cemetery

​(Vaultless Burial)

Newmarket, NH 03857


Chocorua Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

(Vaultless Burial)

Tamworth, NH 03886


Dunbarton Municipal Cemetery

Hybrid Cemetery

Dunbarton, NH 03406


Laurel Hill Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Wilton, NH 03086


Life Forest

Cremated Remains Burial on Conserved Land

Hillsborough, NH 03244


Monadnock Quaker Meeting Burial Ground

Friends Natural Burial Ground

Jaffrey, NH 03452


Old Pine Tree Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Lebanon, NH 03784


Pine Crest Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Charlestown, NH 03603


​Pine Grove Cemetery

Hybrid Municipal Cemetery

Town of Grafton, NH

Grafton, NH 03240


Plainfield Cemetery

Hybrid Municipal Cemetery (Open TBD)

Town of Plainfield

Plainfield, NH 03781


Pleasant View Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Springfield, NH 03284


Tamworth Town Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

(Vaultless burial)

Tamworth, NH 03886


Richmond Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid

Richmond, NH


West Lebanon Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Lebanon, NH 03784


Source: New Hampshire Funeral Resources & Education

Green burial Vermont cemeteries

Ainsworth Cemetery

Hybrid Municipal Cemetery

East Calais, VT 05650


Bisson Cemetery, Town of Plainfield

Hybrid Cemetery

​Plainfield, VT 05667


Green Mount Cemetery

Hybrid Cemetery

Montpelier, VT 05602


Town of Corinth

Municipal Hybrid Cemeteries

All 8 cemeteries located in the town: Old, New, Corinth Center, Darling, West, Corinth Corners, McCrillis, and Munn

Corinth, VT  05039


Fairview Cemetery

Hybrid Municipal Cemetery

East Calais, VT 05650


Hazen Westview Cemetery

Hybrid Cemetery

North Hero, VT 05474


Higher Ground Conservation Cemetery (not open yet)

Conservation Burial Ground 

Williamsville, VT 05362


Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery

Hybrid Cemetery

Brattleboro, VT 05301


Robinson Cemetery

Hybrid Municipal Cemetery

East Calais, VT 05650


Vermont Forest Cemetery

Natural Burial Ground 

Roxbury, VT 05669

Westlook II Cemetery

Municipal Hybrid Cemetery

Glover, VT 05839


Source: New Hampshire Funeral Resources & Education

Green burial cost

The simplistic nature of a green burial can make it more cost effective than traditional burial. There are fees associated with funeral home services, but you will likely see a lower price tag with green options versus conventional packages. Green burials eliminate many additional expenses such as embalming, vaults, and headstone carving. Whether you save additional money on other elements of a green burial depends on your choices.

Prices vary according to the type of green burial site and the services provided. Remember that conservation burial grounds charge higher fees for ongoing preservation of the land. Green burial caskets are likely much cheaper than traditional hardwood or metal manufactured caskets, so that may be a significant source of cost savings.

If you use a cemetery for a green burial, you still have to pay for the plot, but other costs may not be necessary. Green graves are generally shallower than the traditional vault-lined graves, and are often hand dug. Concrete grave vaults or liners are not permitted, neither are marble or stone memorials.

Preplanning your final arrangements ensures that your family understands your final wishes and alleviates a great deal of stress.

Green burial New Hampshire and Vermont - Phaneuf

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