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A green or natural burial is when burial takes place without embalming, traditional caskets or vaults – the body is usually wrapped in biodegradable shroud, covering or casket and placed directly into the ground for natural decomposition. In this way, our bodies return to the earth without preservatives and become of the earth again.
There are three types of Green Burials – hybrid (a section in a traditional cemetery for green burials), natural (a cemetery dedicated to natural burials only) and conservation (a land trust or preserve that is dedicated to natural burials).
According to the Green Burial Council, burials in the United States alone use about nearly 5 million gallons of embalming fluid, tens of millions of feet of hard wood, millions of tons of concrete and tens of thousands of tons of metals each year. In addition to the cost of these items, they also pose potential environments issues as materials begin to break down, or don’t break down, over time.