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Green Burial



What is a Green Funeral?

  • A green funeral incorporates environmentally-friendly options to meet the needs of a family requesting a green service.
  • It may include any or all of the following basic options: no embalming or embalming with organic, formaldehyde-free, products; the use of sustainable biodegradable clothing, shroud or caskets.

What is a Natural or Green Burial?

  • In a “purist” natural or green burial, the body is buried, without embalming, in a natural setting.
  • Any shroud or casket that is used must be biodegradable, nontoxic, and of sustainable materials. With this type of burial, traditional standing headstones are usually not permitted. Instead, flat rocks, plants or trees may serve as grave markers; some cemeteries use GPS to mark the locations of graves. 
  • Natural or green burials may be a significant departure from funeral traditions that many families have participated in over the decades.
  • Some of the requirements for green burial locations may seem too restrictive. For others, the limited time requirements for Green Burial may impose hardships for participation of family from great distances. Special circumstances such as Medical Examiners cases or an autopsy my force changes to green burial plans.

What is a Green Burial Site?

  • Cemeteries offering Green burial or natural burial sites attempt to minimize the use of:
  • Fossil fuels
  • Toxic Chemicals (Pesticides or formaldehyde embalming)
  • Retain natural flora, fauna and appearance of the burial site

Is Cremation Green?

  • The debate continues …cremation does conserve land and uses fewer resources….. BUT…..the 2 - 4 hour cremation process is responsible for airborne emissions including mercury from dental amalgam and requires use of non-renewable fossil fuels.
  • Green Cremation occurs when...
  • The body is prepared without embalming or with formaldehyde free organic alternatives
  • A simple, environmentally friendly container is used for the incineration
  • Natural burial of cremains takes place when a biodegradable urn or container made from recycled or natural materials
  • Scattering of cremated remains is done sensitively in a scattering garden or elsewhere with minimal environmental impact or public display or interference.

Additional Information

Although there are currently no cemeteries in Central Massachusetts that offer green burials, we have information on a few that are about an hour away from Worcester.

Please let us know if you are interested in green burial options and we can provide additional information.

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