If you decide to opt for a natural, green burial there are several options available in terms of purchasing, or indeed making, a natural, organic burial container. The whole idea with a green burial is that the body and container can decompose in a natural manner. In years to come all that should remain at the burial site is the skeleton of the deceased gently encased in the earth. No steel, no concrete, no toxic embalming fluids leaking into the water table. Just basically returning to the natural way that we used to bury our dead over a century ago.
In the United States there are now 41 sites in 26 states. Most natural burial sites are un-landscaped woodland and meadow areas where bodies are inconspicuously buried among natural vegetation. In many cases some form of natural stone markers or GPS coordinates are used to designate and markout the gravesite. You can build your own burial container or coffin from wood, bamboo, wool or linen. Or you can purchase a natural coffin or casket from one of several green casket manufacturers.
Types of green caskets
Banana Leaf Caskets
These caskets are made with coiled banana leaves with rattan and seagrass.
These coffins are handmade from bamboo. Bamboo is a truly sustainable material, as once cut at the root, it grows back to full height in 59 days.
These caskets are constructed from rattan and are available in natural (light) color or organically dyed (dark brown) color.
Seagrass is a sturdy, renewable grass that grows in abundance.
Farm-raised, sustainable wood is used to construct wooden caskets. Also cherry or mahogany can be used. Often they are constructed with retractable or removable handles so that there is no metal remaining upon burial.
Small child/infant coffins can be made from organic fabric and cording. They are available in a variety of colors using natural dyes.
What is the cost of a green casket?
If you decide to purchase a ready made or custom green coffin you can expect to pay anything up from $500.00, plus a small shipping fee if shipping is required.
Ark Wood Caskets retails a flat-packed, easy to assemble (6 pieces) wooden casket at $469 + shipping.
Of course you can construct your own green casket if you have sufficient woodworking skills. This could mean that your casket should cost under $100. Alternatively you may choose to use a linen shroud, which will also cost under $100 if you purchase the material and the family constructs the shroud.
Personalizing a natural coffin or casket
A unique aspect of constructing a simple wooden or linen burial container is that you can choose to have family and friends decorate it with personal messages using environmentally friendly pens or paints.
Whatever kind of green casket you decide upon, you can be sure that you are doing something ethical and sustainable, kind to the environment and your pocket!
Did you know?
Every year in the United States we bury:
827,060 gallons of embalming fluid
90,272 tons of steel in caskets and vaults
2,700 tons of copper and bronze in casket linings
30, 000,000 board feet of hardwood, including wood from endangered forests, for caskets
1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete burial vaults
A natural, green burial is a way of compassionately caring for our planet and our children’s future.
- Green Funerals
- DIY Funeral Care: Family-directed Funerals
- Aquamation or Resomation: A ‘Green’ Alternative to the traditional Funeral