What is Natural Burial?

By definition, a Natural Burial (or Green Burial) is:

“the act of burying a body in a way that causes little damage to the environment, for example by not having the body embalmed (treated with special chemicals) and by using a coffin made of natural materials, so that the coffin and body can decay naturally” – Oxford Dictionary

Times change and what we consider the normal changes with it, as do what people want to happen to their body once they pass on. A natural burial is a way of returning the body to the earth and ensuring their final resting place is as eco-friendly as possible.

While the natural burial has certainly not replaced the more traditional funeral. It has offered an increasingly popular alternative. With current restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, holding a service at the side of a grave-often in an open field, meadow or wood-has kept a bit of normality.

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What are some of the main differences?

Overall the method has much less of a negative impact on the environment. By rejecting more traditional methods of embalming and the use of coffins which take long periods of time to bio-degrade, the body can be returned to the earth in the most natural way possible. Natural burial grounds often also restrict what can be placed around the grave. Ensuring only natural materials are used.

There is also no restriction as to what eco-systems can not be used to bury our loved ones, with burials even taking place within a coral reef or in the sky!

What is the difference in cost?

Natural burials can be considerably more cost-effective than more traditional burials. When a natural burial ground is established, they are protected from development and have a long-term future as an eco-space in which nature is allowed to thrive. The average cost thought to be around £5000. This estimation is broken down further in an article by Dignity Funerals.

How can I find out more about arranging a Natural Burial?

The Natural Death Centre holds a list of Natural Burial grounds that keep within their codes of conduct. They can also offer advice on how to choose a location.

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