We have seen a rising interest in green burials recently. With the rising cost of dying, more people are looking for a simpler disposition of what my mother used to call her husk. Others seek to leave a lower impact on the environment. Whatever the reasoning, the increasing inquiries have led us to educate ourselves, and to choose an acceptable spot on the spectrum of green. Green burial is a broad term, with stipulations ranging from a “naked burial in the forest in a hand-dug grave with no marker, no casket...nothing,” to a bare casket or basket burial in the bare earth, so the body can return unimpeded to the ground. We at Greenwood have chosen what I will term light green.
Light green uses equipment for opening and closing the grave, and for maintenance. Our shade of green has us open a standard-dimension grave to a partial depth, and then hand dig a socket sized to accommodate whatever is going into the earth. We leave a ledge around the perimeter of the socket, and when refilling the grave, we place a ledger on the shelf, and bury it. The ledger supports the soil above it, and keeps the grave from sinking...either as the body is received by the earth, or as the ubiquitous elk herd goes galumphing over the ground.
Inquiries have also focused on acceptable containers. Homemade caskets are fine, as long as we know the dimensions in advance. Willow or wicker baskets, Eco-pods made from compressed eucalyptus leaves or other rigid containers are also acceptable. If, however, the body is wrapped in a shroud, it must be on a rigid wooden tray or plank, for convenience of lowering the body into the grave. And no, we do not do naked burials! If our shade of green blends with yours, contact us, and we can plan with you.