New Options for an Eco-Conscious Burial


For most of human history, natural burial methods were considered the norm. It wasn’t until the start of the 20th century that toxin-laden embalming practices and air-polluting cremation methods became mainstream. These days, thanks to rising trends in green burial options, eco-conscious individuals no longer need to compromise their values in the afterlife.

If you want a green burial, it’s now easier than ever to have one. From biodegradable caskets to water-based cremation, the types of green burial methods available are many. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), demand for green funeral choices is on the rise. In its 2018 Consumer Preferences and Awareness Study, NFDA reported that almost half of all Americans are interested in green burial options. Here’s a look at just a few of the many methods now available.

One is natural burial, which is the practice of burying loved ones without the use of contaminating materials such as embalming chemicals, metals, plastics, and concrete. Another method, The Living Urn, allows for an individual’s remains to be combined with a soil additive and planted with the seedling of his or her choice. Similar options include the Infinity Burial Suit from Coeio, which effectively cleanses the body and soul of toxins to deliver the body’s nutrients to the surrounding plant roots, allowing the body to truly become one with nature.

Hydro-cremation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis or water cremation, uses water in place of fire to reduce the body to its basic element of bone. The end result is similar to remains produced by traditional fire cremation, but the environmental impact is significantly less.

If you’ve always loved the ocean, you can spend eternity there, thanks to biodegradable urns that can carry remains out to sea before dissolving in the water. Passages International offers Himalayan salt urns handcrafted from 250 million-year-old rock salt deposits that float and dissolve after five hours in the water.

Stargazers can live out their fantasies of space travel in the afterlife by sending their remains into the stratosphere, no burial required. Mesoloft makes this possible through the use of high-altitude balloons. The process works by placing the deceased’s remains inside of the balloon and releasing the balloon into the atmosphere. Mother Nature takes care of the rest.

These are just a few of the many green and natural burial options available today. With a little planning, you’ll be able to choose the option that reflects your values—and your personality.

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