Go Green with Your Burial

The options for a green death are growing. Disposition methods are becoming greener, and cemeteries are opening up natural burial sections. If you are considering a green burial, do you know what options are available to you? Here are just a few of the many environmentally friendly burial options available.


Simple Wooden Casket

A simple wooden casket must be made of solid wood with no glue, metal, or varnish to be considered green and accepted into most green burial grounds. The lining should be made of natural, unbleached fabric such as cotton or wool. They are easily decorated and personalized.

Woven Casket

A woven casket is typically made from willow, bamboo, wicker, or any combination of these materials. These caskets are beautiful and are generally well made with sturdy handles ensuring safe and easy transport of the body.

Cardboard Containers

Cardboard is an acceptable green container or casket. It is advisable to check the weight guidelines for the cardboard casket that you may consider, as some may not be suitable for those over a certain weight. Always check with a cemetery before choosing a cardboard container. They may require a rigid board either under or inside and strapping since these do not come with sturdy handles.

Biodegradable Urns

Paper and Fiber Urn

Paper and fiber urns come in many different shapes. They can be small boxes, tubes, hearts, circles, flowers, or a simple envelope shape. Made from recycled paper, natural recycled fabric, hemp, sand, or even gelatin, these urns can also have seeds or other types of plants or flowers embedded in them. Many of these types of urns are multi-purpose. They can be put on display, buried in the ground, or floated on the water. Many also have a smaller version that allows people to keep a portion of the ashes.

Floating Urns

Floating urns are designed to be used on the water and come in many shapes. They are often quite large, with some spanning three feet across. This allows the urn to float before sinking, allowing time for a ceremony to take place.

Rock Salt Urns

Rock salt urns are both beautiful and biodegradable and can be used for burial or in the water. While these urns will not float, they will dissolve in water over time. They are not suitable for long-term display as the salt will attract moisture and create a crusted appearance.

Burial Shrouds


A shroud is a large piece of fabric used to wrap a body. They can be made of unbleached cotton, muslin, linen, silk, wool, hemp, or bamboo. There are some things to consider when choosing a shroud for burial. Since the body will be lowered into a grave, a shrouded body will require a backing board. These are typically a single plank of unpainted, unvarnished solid wood that will stay in the grave.

Now that you’ve seen some of the options available for a green or environmentally friendly burial, you may have a change in heart from your original ideas. Be sure to communicate your thoughts with your loved ones so that they can respect your final wishes.