What is a Green Burial? The Definitive Beginner’s Guide

A green burial is an increasingly popular option for those looking to have a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable funeral. But what is a green burial, and what are the different types? What are its advantages over traditional burials? 

From eco-friendly coffins to burial grounds, this comprehensive guide answers all of your questions about green burials!

What is a Green Burial?

If you’re interested in a green burial, you probably already know what it is. But for those who need a refresher, a green burial is simply a way to bury the dead that has less of an impact on the environment than traditional burials.

Unlike traditional burials, which typically involve embalming the body and using a concrete vault or liner to prevent the ground from sinking, green burials allow the body to decompose naturally.

This means that green burials are much more environmentally-friendly, as they don’t require the use of harmful chemicals or materials that take centuries to break down.

Green burials can be accomplished in many ways, from using sustainable and biodegradable materials for the casket or shroud to choosing a burial ground certified by the Green Burial Council.

Even green funeral homes are popping up all over the country that are dedicated to providing eco-friendly funeral services!

How do green burials work?

The process of a green burial is very similar to a traditional burial. The body is prepared for burial naturally (usually without embalming) and placed in a biodegradable casket or shroud.

This preparation usually involves washing the body with natural, eco-friendly products and dressing it in simple clothing. The grave is dug by hand (to avoid machinery), and the body is buried directly in the ground, without a concrete vault or liner.

The grave is then covered with a layer of natural materials, such as wood chips, stones, or plants. This helps the body decompose more quickly while nourishing the surrounding vegetation.

Green burial grounds are usually located in natural areas like forests or meadows, and they use sustainable practices to care for the land. They are also carefully designed to minimize the environmental impact and provide a peaceful and natural setting for mourners to visit.

What are the advantages of green burial?

There are many advantages to choosing a green burial for the individual and the environment. Let’s look at a few of the most important ones:

Green burials are more environmentally-friendly.

Of course, the main advantage of a green burial is that it is much more environmentally friendly than a traditional burial.

Green burials have a minimal impact on the environment by avoiding harmful chemicals, concrete vaults, and other materials that take centuries to break down. In fact, some green burial grounds are designed to improve the local environment!

Green burials are more sustainable.

Sustainability is another major advantage of green burials. Traditional burials require a lot of resources, from the wood used for caskets to the gas used for funeral cars.

On the other hand, green burials use sustainable and biodegradable materials with minimal environmental impact. Green burials are also usually located in natural areas, which helps to preserve green space and wildlife habitats.

Green burials are more affordable.

In terms of cost, green burials are usually much cheaper than traditional burials. Green burials don’t require expensive materials or services, such as embalming, concrete vaults, and funeral cars.

Green burials are also often simpler and quicker, which saves on funeral costs.

Green burials promote healthy grief.

Did you know that green burials can promote healthy grief? The process of a green burial is often more personal and intimate, which can help mourners to feel closer to their loved one.

Green burials also encourage people to think about death more naturally, which can help with acceptance and peace.

Types of Green Burials

There are many types of green burials, from simple and natural to eco-friendly and sustainable. Here are a few of the most popular types:

Natural burials

Natural burials are the simplest and most natural type of green burial. The body is prepared for burial without embalming chemicals and buried in a biodegradable casket or coffin made of natural materials.

Some popular biodegradable materials include bamboo, wool, and cardboard.

The grave is dug by hand, and the body is buried directly in the ground without a concrete vault or liner. The grave is then covered with natural materials, such as wood chips, stones, or plants.

Eco-friendly burials

The difference between natural and eco-friendly burials is that eco-friendly burials go a step further to reduce the environmental impact.

Eco-friendly burials use sustainable materials, such as recycled wood or Bamboo eco wicker coffins. They also often include solar panels and rainwater harvesting for the green burial ground.

In addition, eco-friendly burials are usually located in natural areas that are already eco-friendly, such as forests or meadows.

Sustainable burials

By far, the most sustainable type of green burial is the sustainable burial. Sustainable burials are designed to have the least possible environmental impact while still providing all the benefits of a green burial.

Sustainable burials use recycled materials, low-energy funerals, and natural burial grounds. They also often include features such as rainwater harvesting and solar panels. For example, some sustainable burial grounds have solar-powered grave markers!

What is a green burial ground?

green burial

To have a green burial, you will need a green burial ground. A green burial ground is a natural area specifically designed for green burials.

Green burial grounds are usually located in natural areas, such as forests or meadows. These forests or meadows typically have little to no environmental impact.

In addition, green burial grounds are usually sustainably managed, which means they use eco-friendly practices to minimize their mark on the environment.

Some popular sustainable practices used by green burial grounds include rainwater harvesting and solar power.

Are green burials legal?

Because green burials are a new concept, many people wonder if they are legal. The answer is yes! As of writing, green burials are legal in all 50 states in the US.

In addition, there are more than 300 green burial grounds across the country. So, if you’re interested in having a green burial, there’s likely a green burial ground near you.

That said, it’s important to check your local laws and regulations before arranging a green burial.

How much does a green burial cost?

The cost of a green burial can vary depending on the type of green burial you choose, the location of the green burial ground, and other factors.

However, in general, green burials are more affordable than traditional burials. This is because green burials often require less expensive materials and services.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5000 for a green burial. This includes the cost of the green burial ground, the casket or coffin, and other funeral expenses. Of course, depending on your needs and budget, you can always spend more or less.


Funerals are an important part of the grieving process. They allow us to say goodbye to our loved ones and celebrate their lives. However, funerals can also be expensive and have a significant environmental impact.

Green burials are an eco-friendly alternative that can save money and help reduce your impact on the planet as you say goodbye to your loved one.

Sandy Villamor

Call me Sandy, a writer, and blogger of LifeStyleConvo & UrbanHouses, who worked as a full-time content creator. A writer by day and reader by night.

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