Overview: Green Cemeteries
The Green Burial Council has developed a rating system for green cemeteries and burial grounds, and has divided the types of green burial locations into three categories:
- Hybrid Burial Ground: a conventional cemetery that allows for burial without an outer burial container and allows for burial in any type of container.
- Natural Burial Ground: a setting that prohibits outer burial containers, the burial of bodies embalmed with toxic chemicals, and burial containers made of anything other than natural materials. In addition, Natural Burial Grounds must have a pesticide-free Integrated Pest Management system.
- Conservation Burial Ground: in addition to meeting the requirements of the Natural Burial Ground, a Conservation Burial Ground must be run by a either a government agency or a nonprofit conservation organization with a legal right to long-term custody of the burial ground.
What You Need to Know
Many conventional cemeteries are now offering green burial options. If you have a cemetery that you’d like to use but you’re not sure about their green offerings, be in touch with the cemetery directly to find out. For Natural and Conservation Burial Grounds, you’ll likely have to find a burial ground that is specifically dedicated to environmentally friendly practices. Though the Green Burial Council has set the standards for green burial and has certified providers, there may be cemeteries with green offerings that are not certified by the Green Burial Council. Be sure to ask the cemeteries you’re interested in about their burial requirements and practices.
The Green Burial Council is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting environmentally friendly practices in the funeral industry, and has set the standards for green cemeteries in the United States. There are currently 30 Green Burial Council-approved cemeteries in 20 states. Under “Approved Cemeteries” select the state in which you’re looking for a cemetery and click the “Search” button. Results will appear along with the type of green burial location next to the name of the cemetery.
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Guide: Finding a Green Cemetery