I would like to continue my eco-friendly burial and cremation theme from a few weeks ago and discuss green burials. We seem to get a few calls every month from people asking if we offer green burials.
What is a green burial? According to the green burial organization (www.greenburial.org), it is a simple and natural process. No metal caskets, no embalming and no cemetery vaults. The body is placed in a biodegradable casket or even a shroud or blanket and then buried in a natural site approved for green burial. Most green cemeteries in the US are in a wooded area and do not allows monuments or markers. While there are a few green burial cemeteries in this country, they are sparsely dispersed. There are some in California (what a surprize), one in New York, a couple down South and another in Texas. There is no doubt that more green cemeteries will be opening up in the future.
People have asked me why there are no green burial cemeteries in New Hampshire or for that matter anywhere in New England. While the “back to nature” appeal of green cemeteries seems to be gaining traction in many parts of the country, New Hampshire, with its 55% cremation rate, does not seem to be following suit.
For many people, the green alternative is a way people can save money and also be environmentally conscience. A green burial avoids many of the traditional funeral trappings and can save several thousands of dollars. However, when you factor in the cost of getting the deceased to the green cemetery, filing the necessary paperwork and paying the cemetery their fees, a green burial will easily exceed $2,000 and probably top $3,000. For about half of that, the family can select a simple cremation. And by keeping the cremated remains at home, scattering them at sea or burying them above a family member or friend in an existing casket, they are saving land.
So, when someone now asks me if we offer green burials, I say that we offer green alternatives to traditional funerals and it’s called cremation.