Going Green for Eternity

By: Ben Erickson


Ecoffins woven bamboo coffin

If you’re concerned about the environment and want to do your part to reduce the impact on the natural world, why stop when life ends? Green, or natural, burials and cemeteries are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional interment.

Over 2,000,000 people die every year in the United States with 30 million board feet of hardwood lumber, thousands of tons of steel, and close to a million cubic yards of concrete used for caskets, coffins, and burial vaults.

Green cemeteries are springing up across the country—from California to Florida to Maine—in an effort to reduce the drain on natural resources and provide a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional burials. Many existing cemeteries are considering adding a natural section as well.

In a green burial, the body is not embalmed, since the fluid can contain toxic chemical such as formaldehyde. Concrete or steel vaults are not used, with the body being laid to rest wrapped in a shroud or in an environmentally friendly coffin or casket. Graves are marked with a natural stone, tree, or shrub while some cemeteries use GPS devices to locate loved ones.


Ecoffins woven banana sheave and pandanus casket

EcoffinsUSA makes handcrafted, woven coffins and caskets from sustainable materials such as bamboo, banana sheaves, willow, and pandanus (wild pineapple) with the work being done in Fair Trade certified factories. They contain no chemicals, glues, or metal fasteners and will deteriorate and return to the earth in less than a year.

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3 Comments on “Going Green for Eternity”

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  • Tom Says:
    June 17th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks for all the great information on green coffins and burials. I would like to see more mortuaries offering these kinds of services that can save people money as well as help the environment. Additional to your resources I found another website that has a list of green funeral homes in the US: http://www.agreenerfuneral.org


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Brian,
    Sorry to say I don’t know much about the licensing procedures for cemeteries, but there are state and perhaps local laws and regulations that govern them. Good luck, and let us know if it works out.



  • Brian Blackmore Says:
    April 20th, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for your comments about Green Cemeteries.I am mostly interested in Owning and running a Green Cemetery. Where can I find information about Laws and Licenses etc.? Does one have to be certified? I own land and would like to support my community.

    Thank you Brian


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