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What to Know About Green Burials

As the focus continues to be on climate change, the environmental issues that plague our world have captured our attention. Many people are now looking at ways in which they can be more environmentally friendly – even after they pass away. 

Green burials, often referred to as natural burials or eco-friendly burials, are becoming more popular. A green burial is one in which the body is surrounded in completely biodegradable material. While most burials include a casket and chemicals that help to preserve the body, a green burial utilizes none of that. The individual’s remains will simply decompose back into the earth. 

Green Burial Options

There are many options for a green burial. Such options include:

  • Covering the remains in fully decomposable materials
  • Placing the body in a bio urn and planting a tree on top of it;
  • Using a casket or an urn made of wicker or recycled paper respectively;
  • Making man-made reefs with concrete mixed with cremated remains; and
  • Changing the remains into fertilizer that can be used in gardens.

Which Cemeteries Accept Green Burials?

It’s important to note that green burials are not possible in every cemetery and not all cemeteries will accept green burials due to how the body must be wrapped. The burial products must be made out of plant-based, natural, animal, or unfired earthen materials in order for the burial to be considered green. This not only applies to any urns, caskets, or shrouds, but to anything else that is to be buried along with the body, such as the liner of the casket or anything at all that is used to decorate it. There are also additional standards that a funeral home or cemetery must adhere to in order to be approved as green. These standards are set by the Green Burial Council (GBC).

Whether you can perform a green burial at a cemetery depends upon the laws of the state and the specific cemetery. Most people who are interested in a green burial will choose a natural cemetery that only accepts that type of burial. 

Planning a Green Burial

If you are interested in a green burial or have any specific end-of-life wishes, including them in an estate plan can help to fulfill them. By establishing what you want after you are gone, you can save your loved ones the stress and guess work involved with what to do.

Biddle Law Can Help 

If you are interested in establishing an end-of-life plan, a knowledgeable and experienced California estate planning attorney who knows the current laws and has experience dealing with such subjects can help.  

At Biddle Law, we are here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the process. We care about you and your loved ones and want to help in any way we can. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!