Is Green Burial Legal

The reason why others choose a green burial is in the name: it is ecological. Green burials remove both embalming chemicals and the cement, steel, or other superfluous non-biodegradable materials that conventional burials bring into the earth, and don`t have the carbon footprint of cremation equivalent to a 500-mile road trip. “The crucial problem in almost every state is that laws don`t take into account this type of burial site,” said Tanya Marsh, a professor at Wake Forest University School of Law who has written books on the laws relating to the dead. “It`s probably not that lawmakers wanted to make it difficult; It just didn`t occur to them that not everyone would set up a cemetery that they imagined as a normal cemetery. Looking for a green funeral for you and your pet? Visit the Green Pet-Burial Society. Yes. No state law requires the use of a casket for burial. A person can be buried directly in the ground, in a shroud or in a vault without a coffin. Funeral homes and cemeteries may have their own rules for using caskets. Here`s what Americans put to the ground each year through traditional burials: 20 million feet of wood, 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluids, 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze, and 64,500 tons of steel, according to the Green Burial Council. Mark Harris, author of the national bestseller Grave Matters, runs a website and blog that answers many questions about natural burial. The Green Burial Council is a good source of frequently asked questions and facts about natural burial.

Located in 9.4 acres in Texas near Austin, Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park was founded in 2009 by Ellen McDonald. Although not a funeral director, Ellen was inspired by the idea of creating a natural funeral park that would allow families to bury their loved ones and feel more connected to the natural landscape. This is difficult to determine, as not all funeral homes that offer eco-friendly funeral services list these services on their website. As interest in natural funeral options grows, there are now more funeral homes that are meeting this demand. The Green Burial Council lists one provider in San Antonio, and A Greener lists five green funeral homes in Texas. While no organization maintains a comprehensive database of all national and local cemetery laws, operators have no shortage of stories about the obstacles they have faced. Some laws, for example, require paved roads to be burial sites. Others require cemetery fencing – both as opposed to the natural environments required for conservation cemeteries. White Eagle, which has buried about 85 people so far and reserved 130 other sites, charges just over $3,000 for funerals that help with ongoing land acquisition, invasive species monitoring and forest management to reduce wildfire risk. If you or your family members own a rural property, home burial may be an option. All states except Arkansas allow burial on private property, although some states require you to designate land as a family cemetery limited to family members only. Also, each municipality has its own zoning requirements, so check with them and get the necessary permits.

A good point of interest in the funeral rule is that every funeral home in the United States must already offer some form of green funeral with a direct funeral offering. Funeral directors must provide a price list that includes a direct funeral. For many funeral homes, a direct funeral service is one that includes a modest wooden (or cardboard) container, no embalming, and immediate burial in a cemetery within 24 hours. Conservation burial goes even further and incurs funeral costs to be paid for the acquisition, protection, restoration and management of the land. These are usually large tracts of land, sometimes adjacent to a park, critical habitat area, nature reserve or existing nature reserve. This means that a green funeral could easily be arranged with family participation for less than $1,000, but can be as high as $4,000 depending on the cemetery and professional service fee. The Conservation Cemetery covers 3,000 acres of nature preserves and botanical nature preserves along 12 miles of coastline on Livingston Lake. The Ethical Family Cemetery has a 10-acre chapel from the birthplace, as well as a Buddhist temple where cremated remains are also accepted for burial or dispersal.

The cemetery only requests names and information about deceased persons for its cemetery records. The purpose of a natural cemetery is to restore or preserve a natural landscape populated by native vegetation and animals. Many support sustainable management through land conservation efforts by avoiding fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides to promote native habitats. Below is a table of typical green burials and associated costs: Replace concrete vaults and toxic burial containers with coffins made of sustainably harvested wood and bio-liners, and check if products or components have been transported over long distances, which can increase the ecological footprint. For questions about natural burial in Texas, call your Texas Green Burial Advisor at (877) 354-2102. According to Joe Sehee, founder of the Green Burial Council, “This concept resonates more with Texans than any other state. Those who prefer the green option here often do so not as a last act of environmental activism, he said, but out of a desire to be close to the earth, to return to biblical practices, or as an alternative to embalming without choosing cremation. “They can, of course, be buried in any designated green cemetery. Check out our directory to find the nearest green burial sites. Many states also allow natural burial on your own land.

There are ordinances to verify local zoning and guidelines for burial plots. It is important to realize that funeral laws are different in each state. Every state has the right to legislate on the details of the funeral service – the language used in the statutes of the state refers to the “disposal of human remains”. While there are many laws across the country that set limits on how funeral homes and cemeteries do business, there are three common themes related to natural burials: burial vaults, coffins and embalming. Meanwhile, the so-called dying care industry has begun to offer options with different “shades of green” – such as willow coffins – urns meant to grow in trees and an organic mixture that reduces the toxicity of cremated remains and allows for safe mixing in the soil. Green burials are legal in all 50 states, but each has its own rules about where and how they can be performed. A local funeral director can give you all the advice you need for an eco-friendly service. The natural burial park has wooded areas, gardens and meadows as well as hiking trails. Burials are carried out in biodegradable coffins or shrouds, and small organic plates are allowed. Due to the variety of options available today, it is important to ensure that your last wishes are written down and that your preferences are clearly listed.

Specify where the funeral will take place, such as a morgue certified to provide ecological services. Some of the things you need to specify include: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has two rulings that matter to green and natural burial in the United States. One of the rules is the funeral rule, which protects a consumer`s right to choose only the goods and services they want or need and to pay only for the services they choose. This means that everyone has the right to plan a natural funeral with their funeral home. (In our experience, funeral directors will accommodate each family`s wishes, no matter how strange, within the limits of the law, of course, and charge fair fees for expenses and services.) While no state law explicitly prohibits green burial — generally defined as burials that take place in eco-friendly, embalming-free containers — cemetery operators across the country say outdated state and local laws have made it difficult to implement green burial. The second topic relevant to the FTC is the Green Guides, revised in 2012. These guidelines help marketers of green products and services use language that does not mislead consumers. The specific wording of the guidelines defines terms such as biodegradable, compostable, recycled and non-toxic.

If we look at these aspects of green funeral expenses, we can estimate that a simple, home-to-do-it-yourself green burial could be done for less than $1,500. However, if you choose to use the services of a funeral home, and depending on the cost of the cemetery and casket, a green funeral can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500. A shroud costs $300 and a biodegradable willow or bamboo casket costs between $900 and $1,500. A hybrid cemetery is a conventional cemetery that provides the essential aspects of natural burial, either on the entire cemetery or in a specific section. Hybrid cemeteries can obtain certification that does not require them to use vaults. This allows you to use any eco-friendly and biodegradable funeral container such as a shroud or soft wood casket. Buller, who manages the reservation in southern Washington, said she would like to see chaplains and hospice staff present a green burial as an option when talking to families about their end-of-life choices.