If you choose burial, The Natural Funeral can provide choices that allow for a more natural return to the earth. Location can be an important factor, and if natural or green burial is not available in your area, we can offer you the option of a biodegradable, locally made casket, a natural shroud burial, and it may be possible for a conventional cemetery to up-end the required vault, so that the body or natural container rests directly against the earth.
Each cemetery will have its own requirements. Most conventional cemeteries require the purchase of a vault or outer burial container. These are generally made of concrete, plastic or fiberglass and are placed over the gravesite to prevent the land from sinking, thus impeding landscaping practices, most notably, the mowing of the lawn.
Conventional cemeteries allow for the burial of both chemically embalmed and non-embalmed bodies without providing specific sections for more natural burials. Some conventional cemeteries in Colorado do now have natural burial sections. See our natural burial page for more information on green or natural burial, and for information on The Natural Funeral’s natural approach to care of the deceased, Reverent Body PreparationThis is gentle, non-invasive, natural care of your loved-one at death, which includes: gentle washing, ceremonial cleansing and Ceremonial Anointing of Oils. Ceremonial Anointing of Oils is an ancient practice in many traditions to honor the many aspects of the body that have served the deceased and acknowledge the transition of spirit..
Conventional Burial FAQs
1. What is Conventional Burial?
A typical conventional burial is in a cemetery that requires a graveliner or a vault or outer burial container (as cemetery policy, not as a legal requirement). Remains may be chemically embalmed or not. There are generally no rules for the casket material (it is not necessary for the casket to biodegrade). Landscaping may be resource intensive, include high water usage for non-native vegetation, and involve the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
2. What is the environmental impact of conventional burial?
Each year, in US cemeteries, we bury:
- Around 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid
- Around 1,000 tons of casket steel
- Around 200,000 tons of concrete in burial vaults
- Enough wood to build 40 homes.
3. What is the embalming process that The Natural Funeral chooses NOT to offer?
Embalming is an invasive process involving draining the body of fluids at death, puncturing internal organs to pump in highly carcinogenic embalming fluid, dyes and other toxic products. Despite claims to the contrary, it is not a sanitary measure but allows for the temporary preservation of the deceased’s remains. Cooling of the body is an acceptable legal alternative. In the US, modern embalming began during the Civil War. Before that, natural deathcare was the norm. The Natural Funeral offers gentle, non-invasive care of your loved-one at death with Reverent Body Preparation.
4. If you would like to bury “greener” at a conventional cemetery, how can The Natural Funeral help?
The Natural Funeral will advise and or carry out natural Reverent Body Preparation. We provide a range of natural caskets and shrouds. We can request that the outer burial container or vault be upturned to allow for contact with the earth beneath.
5. What are conventional cemetery expenses?
You will select and purchase a plot directly with the cemetery. In addition to the cost of the plot, you will need to pay for the opening and closing of the grave, any grave liner or vault required, a monument (according to cemetery specifications) and a perpetual care fee for grave upkeep and landscaping.