Natural Burial – going green

Some facts about green burial:


Green burial is the most natural way of re-cycling a body. Human remains return to the earth, soon to become part of the cycle of nature. Woodland, moors, farmland, downs and wild flower meadows are among the sites used as natural burial grounds, where the location of graves are recorded and marked with a microchip. Most burial grounds will let you mark the grave with a temporary marker, usually a wooden one that will bio-degrade in time. Some will allow a flat stone marker and others nothing at all. In many cases trees are planted and motorised grass cutting kept to a minimum.


A wooden bench, bird and bat boxes can often be put in place in memory of a loved one. Each establishment will have its own guidelines, some being stricter than others. The one thing all green burial grounds have in common is that they offer somewhere peaceful for loved ones to visit, to sit and remember. Such places become a natural habitat for wildlife and most importantly, protect the land from developers.


A few guidelines:


Embalming fluids are toxic and to be avoided where possible

Choose a biodegradable coffin made from natural materials such as willow, natural pine, bamboo, sea-grass, wool, cotton, cardboard and more coffins

Ensure that the deceased is dressed in natural fabrics

Choose flowers from the garden or locally grown, instead of imported or hot-house blooms

It is possible to be buried in your own garden, on private land. Should this idea be of interest there are a few legalities that have to be taken into account:


Many long established hay meadows, grazed by sheep are now registered as natural burial sites, with wonderful views over rolling countryside

Due to high demand more green burial grounds are opening areas where pets and their owners can be laid to rest side by side

Be aware of carbon footprints when arranging transport. Where possible, arrange for people to share lifts or hire a bus that will carry both the coffin and mourners through busy streets, avoiding stress and parking problems

Transport the coffin on a decorated horse-drawn farm cart and have friends travel with it

A hand-pulled cart can be used to carry the coffin to its resting place. Within the procession of people consider including family dogs – on leads of course

A procession with many people taking turns to carry the coffin can sometimes be appropriate

Green burial means that you leave behind nothing but biodegradable compost to fuel plant life.

Cremation has become more popular in recent years. If you are considering this, please be aware that, in spite of strict government legislation 12% of all carcinogenic pollutants in the atmosphere come from crematoria. Bear in mind also the enormous amount of energy required for fuel.


To help reduce emissions, make funeral arrangements with environmental awareness choose a coffin that is made from sustainable materials, there are many choices available. Dress or wrap the body in natural fabrics. Use locally grown, seasonal or garden flowers, avoiding those grown in hot-houses and transported by air.

Leaf Cocoon Shroud

Leaf Cocoon Shroud

A hand-made felt shroud