What is a Green or Natural Burial?

By: Richard "Ritty" Polhemus
Monday, March 20, 2017

Did your loved one spend their life trying to protect and preserve the environment? You may want to honor them by giving them an eco-friendly natural burial. Natural, or green burials are an increasingly popular way to protect mother nature even after we pass on. Natural burials reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, and preserve the environment. They also protect the health of funeral service workers. But what exactly is a natural burial?

Non-Toxic Embalming Fluid

The first green aspect of natural burials is the use of non-toxic embalming fluid. Embalming fluid usually contains formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. Studies show that due to working with traditional embalming fluid, funeral directors are more likely to have myeloid leukemia. It is safe to say that this type of embalming fluid is not safe for the environment, as toxic chemicals can leak into the soil.

Natural burials use formaldehyde-free embalming fluid which is made from nontoxic and biodegradable essential oils. By using this type of embalming fluid, the burial process is much better for funeral workers and the environment.

Funeral Home Ocean County

Biodegradable Coffins, Urns, and Caskets

Many interment vessels are made with materials that are not biodegradable like steel and fiberglass. Also, these vessels are often adorned with exotic or endangered wood and are designed to prevent decomposition. Natural burial services will often use vessels made from biodegradable bamboo, cane, wicker, or fiberboard. These materials are easily renewed and recycled which greatly benefits the environment.

Some may think that burial vaults are a green option because they are made of natural materials. However, manufacturing and transporting vaults uses a large amount of energy, causing substantial carbon emissions. This is why natural burials use biodegradable coffins, urns, and caskets.

Is Cremation Eco-Friendly?

While cremation does use fossil fuels, its impact on the environment is minimal. Surprisingly, cremation uses less resources than other disposition options. Green cremation involves using filtration devices to mitigate mercury pollution that comes from burning dental fillings. It also recycles medical parts to reduce the processes environmental footprint.

What Are Green Cemeteries?

Although natural burials can be performed at any cemetery, it is more common that they take place at green cemeteries. Green cemeteries are traditionally in wooded areas where headstones are often replaced with a tree, bush, or natural stone.

These cemeteries are certified by the Green Burial Council which has certain standards for environmentally friendly burials. They require transparency, accountability and oversight from third parties to guarantee the most environmentally sound burial ground. There are limitations on burial density to protect ecosystems in the area and interment vessels are screened for environmental safety.These cemeteries also prevent future owners from reneging on their ecological promises.

Environmentally Conscious Services

If you are planning a natural burial for your loved one, you are going to need professional and compassionate services. Polhemus Cremation Services has been a trusted name in funeral care for three generations and is happy to provide a natural burial. They offer appointments at their newly renovated location or in the privacy of your home.

Green Burials are are just a small part of what Polhemus Cremation Services has to offer. Polhemus also has grief services, legal advice, and resources for veterans. Funeral directors will personally answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They understand that you are on a journey of remembrance, healing, and love and does everything possible to reduce stress on your end. Contact Polhemus Cremation Services and they will take care of the simplest ceremony to the most detailed funerals.


Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

Ways To Honor a Loved One’s Memory

Honoring a loved one’s memory is an essential part of the healing process. When we experience a loss, taking action can provide a sense of control at a time when we feel helpless. Fortunately, ther...

How to Help - Supporting a Grieving Loved One

When a loved one is grieving, knowing how to support them can be difficult. We know something needs to be done, but we worry about making the situation worse. Everyone grieves differently, but ther...

Helping Children Understand and Cope with Death

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. Explaining it to children can be particularly difficult, especially if they are younger. They may not even truly comprehend what death is or that...

A Few Quick Tips for Proper Funeral Etiquette

Attending a funeral can be an emotionally charged experience, with the tendency to elicit complex and sometimes conflicting feelings. It can be a challenge to respectfully show your condolences to ...

Understanding and Dealing With Grief

Dealing with grief is hard. For some people, it’s the hardest thing they’ll ever have to go through. It’s an entirely subjective experience that’s unique to the individual person, and their loss. T...

Burial or Cremation - Help Making the Difficult Decision

There are many things to consider when it comes to end of life decisions. Aside from all the legal loose ends that need to be tied, you must also plan your final disposition. Many people may alread...

How to Plan a Funeral - Where to Begin

The death of a loved one is never easy to deal with. Whether it was sudden and unexpected or a long time coming, it can leave those left behind overwhelmed both emotionally and physically. Arrangin...

Who Can Authorize A Funeral?

~~     Over my 26 years serving as a funeral director, I have found there has been much confusion regarding who can authorize funeral arrangements.  This misconception appl...