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4 Considerations for Planning a Green Burial

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Over the years, we’ve seen more individuals looking for eco-friendly and personally meaningful ways to do just about everything in life. In fact, research shows younger Americans (i.e. Millennials and Gen Z) are talking more about the need for environmental change than ever before.

This explains why green burial has been surging in popularity in recent years.

According to the Green Burial Council (GBC), green burial “is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conversation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.” 

When choosing green burial, it’s important to put time into researching certified providers and products. Below, we outline four things to keep in mind when planning environmentally friendly end-of-life arrangements.

1. Define your environmental goals.

Much like the personalization elements of a traditional burial, you must consider your end goal with green burial. Is it…

  • The conservation of natural resources?
  • The reduction of carbon emissions?
  • The protection of worker health?
  • The preservation/restoration of habitat?

Ranking these environmental benefits can be used to ensure your final arrangements are reflective of the environmental considerations most important to you.

>>> Related Resource: What You Need to Know About Green Burial in Ohio.

2. Ensure your chosen funeral home is Green Burial Council-certified.

While many funeral homes claim they support green burial, you’ll want to make sure the funeral home is certified by GBC.

To become GBC-certified, a funeral home must submit an application and undergo an evaluation process. If passed, the funeral home is granted a license, verifying that the establishment is a certified Green Burial Provider. The funeral home agrees to periodic compliance monitoring to ensure certification requirements are met on an ongoing basis. Additionally, GBC has a list of Cemetery Certification Standards for green burial to take place.

To ensure the funeral home is up to date with GBC rules and regulations, visit Find GBC Providers to review certified providers in your area.

>>> Busch is GBC-certified. Contact us today to begin planning your own green burial.

3. Select Green Burial Council-certified products.

There are a variety of products associated with burial, ranging in material, style and price. However, not all products are GBC-approved.

Because of this, the GBC has set forth the following standards for green burial products: 

  • Finishes and adhesives of the product must not release toxic byproducts in the facility where the product is manufactured, or in the location where the product is decomposed.
  • Finishes and adhesives of the product must not contain plastics, acrylics or synthetic polymeric materials.
  • All products must be produced and harvested out of reclaimed or recycled materials, including shell, liner and adornments. This may include bamboo, cork, rattan, hemp, organic wool or willow.
  • Transportation of the materials to the manufacturing location and the transportation of the finished product to the consumer must not exceed 3,000 miles.

Before making any purchases, take time to evaluate available products both online and offline. A GBC-certified provider can guide you in selecting the appropriate products for your loved ones final resting place.

4. Ask about Green Burial Council-certified services.

There are a multitude of options available when planning and designing your loved one’s green funeral. To ensure final arrangements are reflective of your loved one’s wishes, GBC created the Green Burial Planning Guide.

This helps you and your family:

  • Identify environmental, economic and spiritual aims.
  • Designate a funeral service (private versus public; open versus closed).
  • Select a cemetery.
  • Verify a grave marker. 

A funeral director can walk you through all of your options, and help you design a green burial service that honors the life and legacy of your loved one. 

>>>Related Resource: 6 Certified Green Burial Cemeteries in Ohio

Your Guide to Planning a Green Burial

If you or your lost loved one expressed interest in green burial, to help you get started with every step of the final arrangement planning process, download our funeral planning checklist.

Download our funeral planning checklist


Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018, and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Meghan Burmeister
Meghan Burmeister
Skillfully and compassionately manages our Avon and Avon Lake locations. Meghan and her husband, Bill, enjoy vacations with their son Otto, while also supporting community, church and school events. Graciously serving Busch families since 1998.

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