Green burial and the Environment in Denver Metro
Everything in nature is recycled. Everything that has lived, dies and returns to the soil. A green burial is a way to allow nature to do what it always has done- recycle. It is an earth friendly option that can now be considered when thinking about burial and cremation.
In a natural burial, also referred to as a green burial, the goal is to keep the process as natural as possible. This means the body is placed in a biodegradable casket or in natural wrappings and placed in the ground. The caskets are made from bamboo, seagrass, banana greens, wool and more. Some people will simply use a shroud or blanket.
The body is not treated with any embalming fluids nor are pesticides or herbicides used in green cemeteries. In fact, trees, shrubs and flowers restore the habitat and encourage land preservation. Natural bacterial activity does its job of breaking things down within the soil over time. Stones are often used to designate the graves and natural vegetation and wildlife is not deterred from the area.
Cremation and Green Burial
In the past, many people who chose cremation decided to do so because it was a less expensive alternative to traditional burials with sealed caskets and concrete burial vaults. Although these items are not required by law, may traditional cemeteries require them. A green cemetery, or a memorial nature preserve, allows the green burial without these requirements, allowing the burial to be in balance with natural surroundings.
Cremation is known to contribute to air pollution by adding toxins such as sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid into the atmosphere. Even the caskets the body is in before cremation can add to the pollutants when burned. Additionally, to bring the temperature of the burners to the 1400 degrees required for cremation, up to 356 cubic feet of natural gas is used.
According to a green burial casket source, Final Footprint:
“Every year in the US we bury 847,060 gallons of embalming fluid, 90,272 tons of steel in caskets and vaults [and] 2,700 of copper and bronze in casket linings”
The environmentally friendly green burial option now helps to preserve open spaces across the US, with memorial nature preserves in 26 states. With land development infringing on more and more natural land, natural burials and green cemeteries create protected land and an ecosystem for generations to come.