Green Burial

Creating Legacies of Renewal & Natural Beauty

A green burial – or natural burial – is defined as a burial alternative that allows the body to be returned to the earth and naturally recycled into new life without the use of toxic embalming fluids, metal caskets and concrete vaults.

Green burial is not a new idea, in fact, this is how we’ve cared for our dead for thousands of years up until the late 19th century. Modern death-care traditions date back to the Civil War era, when embalming was developed to preserve fallen soldiers, so their bodies could be shipped home for burial. (Early embalmers used arsenic, which can still be detected today in old graveyards.)

As an environmentally friendly alternative, green burials are a commitment to conserving, sustaining, and protecting the Earth to which our bodies ultimately return. Burials at Greenhaven Preserve use less energy and create less waste than conventional burials. Each burial also supports our mission of restoring and preserving this sacred landscape. And a green burial can often cost less than a modern burial as embalming fluids, concrete vaults and non-biodegradable caskets contribute to a large portion of its costs.

A burial at Greenhaven Preserve is your opportunity to give something back to the world and to create a legacy of renewal and natural beauty for generations to come.

Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:

  • 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid, which includes formaldehyde
  • 90,272 tons of steel
  • 2,700 tons of copper and bronze
  • 30–plus million board feet of precious hardwoods
  • 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete, in vaults
  • 14,000 tons of steel, in vaults

Greenhaven Preserve is a member of the Green Burial Council.