Respecting the earth, even in death: ‘Natural burials’ gaining popularity

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Many people are choosing to live greener lives by trying to decrease their negative impacts on the earth and the environment.  Some people are choosing to go green even in their funeral arrangements.    It’s called “natural burial” or “green burial.”

Few or no chemicals are put into or on the body, only a biodegradable shroud or a biodegradable coffin are put directly into the ground.

The options can be less expensive and more environmentally friendly.  Some in the industry say they are increasing their offerings in this area  in response to increasing demand.

Windridge Cemetery  in Cary, Illinois has sections devoted to natural burials and is adding more.    In these sections, caskets are not necessary, only a shroud.   There are no upright monuments because graves are marked with natural stone.     Families are encouraged to plant  gardens  and visitors encouraged take nature walks.    Because there are no big monuments, no lawns to mow, there`s no need for burial vaults.

In Windridge`s current natural burial sections, embalming is allowed, though newer sections will require  either no embalming or embalming with more natural substances.

In flame cremation, bodies burn at high heat and release smoke and possibly toxins into the air.   Aqua Green Dispositions  offers  flameless cremation.  The body is placed in a stainless steel tube with about a hundred gallons of water and two alkaline chemicals which essentially wash the flesh away.

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