What is Green Burial?Green Burial is defined by the Green Burial Council as “caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact, that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat. Green Burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, such as caskets, shrouds and urns.”
In a Natural Green Burial the body is simply placed into the ground, usually wrapped in a biodegradable length of cloth (a shroud) or inside a casket, or basket made of untreated wood, or natural woven plant material. The native vegetation is then returned and maintained.
For cremated remains, at Infinity Cemetery we dig a six inch diameter hole, about 18 inches deep, into an otherwise undisturbed hillside. We then mix the ashes with some of the native soil, and return the mixture to the earth, carefully replacing native soil and vegetation. Although cremation uses natural gas, it is less expensive, and requires less disturbance of the land for burial.
Why Choose Green Burial?Green Burial is the simplest, most natural option for burial. Until the modern era, it was how most burials were conducted. Modern cemeteries involve the use of many toxic substances, and expend a lot of energy during the burial process.
Each year in the United States, about 22,000 “modern” cemeteries put the following into our soil and water:*
-Over 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid, including carcinogenic formaldehyde*
-30 million board feet of casket wood*
-1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete used for vaults*
-90,000 tons of steel used in caskets**
-17,000 tons of steel and copper used for vaults**
Even after the burial, modern cemeteries continue to pollute with lawn fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. They require landscape maintenance, using excessive water for irrigation, and fuel for machinery.
Most modern cemeteries use income from new sales to help maintain their elaborate infrastructure and landscapng. After selling all the gravesite, there are often insufficient funds to keep up the cemetery’s showy ornamental landscaping. This can result in neglect and abandonment of the cemetery.
Green burial cemeteries want to forgo this unsustainable process, and allow the body to be returned to the earth in a natural and simple way.
What is different about Infinity Cemetery?Infinity Cemetery is a nature preserve. There are no lawns to mow, no precarious headstones to keep weeded and propped up, no irrigation systems to maintain, and no toxic chemicals or non biodegradable materials being put into the ground. The 28 acres of dedicated nature preserve is wild land; home to numerous native plants and wild animals. It is surrounded by similar large landholdings that are also protected from further development by conservation easements and zoning. Infinity Cemetery places 15% of all gross sales into a perpetual trust fund. The interest from the trust insures that the land will be kept wild forever.
How can friends and family participate?Infinity Cemetery welcomes participation in the burial process. Friends and family can participate in a ceremony at the grave site, and can return to visit by appointment. More intensive participation is available. This can include opening the grave, closing the grave and/or transporting body for burial. Opening and closing a grave is tough work, as the hillside contains many tree root systems and clay heavy soil. If you want to be part of this process, multiple strong, able-bodied family members or friends are necessary.
What about scattering ashes?When ashes are scattered in public spaces, those spaces are essentially defiled with small pieces of human remains littered on the ground or in waterways. Anyone walking in such a space is literally walking on human remains. This is prohibited to most traditional cultures and spiritual paths, and was often done with the remains of unsavory people so they would not be able to rest in the afterlife, nor enter into the cycle of rebirth, depending on the cultures’ beliefs. Scattering these days is usually done with good intentions, however, we believe this practice does not honor the dead. The reason humans have almost always been buried in dedicated cemeteries is to allow everyone to know that these are burial grounds and sacred space, and to give one single place for the entirety of ones remains to rest in peace.
Please see our essay Why Bury