Our understanding of burial practices has significantly evolved over time. Prior to the modern era that initiated around 1860, most burials were what we now term as “green”. So, what exactly is a green burial, and why might someone choose this environmentally-friendly option?
What is a Green Burial?
Green burial, also known as natural burial, is a method of interment that seeks to have the least possible impact on the environment. The body is either prepared for burial or cremation without embalming or is embalmed using eco-friendly solutions.
For burials, the body is placed in a biodegradable casket or wrapped in a shroud, while cremated remains are placed in a biodegradable urn or container. The remains are then laid to rest in a natural setting such as a meadow or forest designated for green burials.
Why Opt for a Green Burial?
Choosing a green burial has several notable benefits:
- Cost-effectiveness: Green burials are typically less costly than traditional ones as they do not involve traditional caskets, nor conventional embalming.
- Conservation of Resources: Green burials utilize eco-friendly woods and materials for caskets, helping to preserve precious hardwoods often used in traditional burials, such as mahogany and cherry.
- Environmentally Safe: The absence of chemicals used in traditional embalming has less of an impact on the surrounding soil.
- Land Conservation: Most green cemeteries are set within natural landscapes like forests or prairies that remain undisturbed by the process of green burials.
Where Can You Have a Green Burial?
While not all cemeteries cater to green burials, a growing number are creating sections dedicated to this practice. Some notable examples in this area include Forest Home Cemetery & Arboretum in Milwaukee and Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha.
For those desiring a completely green environment, the Green Burial Council offers a comprehensive list of green cemeteries across the country. Alternately, cremated remains can be scattered in an approved national forest through services like Better Place Forests.
If you’re considering a green burial, it’s essential to understand the legal aspects involved. In Wisconsin, for instance, there are no laws prohibiting private or home burials. However, local laws may vary, so always consult with local authorities and your funeral professional when making burial plans.
Planning a Green Burial
A few considerations when planning a green burial include:
- Timing of Visitation: If embalming is not selected, the time before decomposition begins is significantly reduced. Eco-friendly embalming methods can extend this window, allowing more time for service planning.
- Cremation Pre-service: If you decide on cremation prior to the service, there is no requirement for any form of embalming, and the funeral can take place weeks or even months later.
- Choosing the Final Resting Place: Traditional cemeteries may not be considered green due to conventional embalming and burial practices on the same property.
At Piasecki Funeral Home, we are committed to providing comprehensive support during the planning and implementation phases of the funeral service. Regardless of your chosen method for honoring your loved one’s final wishes, our dedicated team will ensure a seamless commemoration, tailored specifically to your family’s preferences and needs.