Three Ways To Make A Conventional Burial More Eco-Friendly

Eco-friendly cemeteries are starting to catch on but there are still only a few of them in the United States. So what should you do if you want to plan for an eco-friendly burial but don't live near enough to a green burial location? Transportation may not be the answer, since burial must take place within just a few days unless you choose embalming. So if you decide that a green burial location isn't feasible but you still want a traditional burial, there are a few ways you can work within the confines of that tradition to lessen the environmental impact involved. Here are three ways to make your conventional burial more eco-friendly.

Biodegradable casket

Although many caskets and coffins are made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable materials like steel, you can choose to source a biodegradable casket. Be sure to get one that isn't painted or lacquered (like many wooden caskets are) because paint and lacquer can damage the environment as well. Some options for biodegradable, earth-friendly caskets include:

  • Cardboard caskets

  • Unfinished wood caskets

  • Bamboo caskets

  • Wicker caskets

  • Stiff recycled "paper" caskets

  • Woven grass caskets


No grave liner

Some cemeteries encourage or require you to use a concrete grave liner or underground vault. This serves several purposes. It provides an extra layer to protect the remains from natural forces such as insects, and it prevents the grave from caving in slightly at the top when the casket disintegrates. But using concrete in grave liners is a drain on natural resources because it locks the natural resource of concrete away in the ground indefinitely. Finding a cemetery that will allow you to opt out of using a grave liner or underground vault is an important step in making your traditional funeral more earth-friendly.

No embalming

Like the grave liners, embalming is a tradition that the industry wishes to uphold. The funeral home may try to convince you that embalming is necessary. Check the laws in your area to see if they allow for burial without embalming, which is likely to be the case. If they do, find a funeral home that's willing to allow you to opt out of embalming. Dry ice or chilling can be used as a preservative method if the funeral will take place within a few days.

These steps will help you ensure that even though you aren't able to access a "green burial" facility, your traditional burial will be more eco-friendly than most. If you have the budget for it and live near the ocean, burial at sea may be the most eco-friendly option available to you; but if not, using these measures can still minimize the environmental impact of your burial. For more information, contact centers like Sosebee Funeral Home.