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What you need to know about green burial.

Green burial in Kansas and Missouri March 22, 2023

What is green burial?

A green burial, also known as a natural burial, is a burial method that prioritizes environmental sustainability and reducing the impact on the environment. It involves burying a deceased person's body in a way that allows it to decompose naturally, without embalming fluids, concrete vaults, or metal caskets.

In a green burial, the body is typically placed in a biodegradable casket, shroud, or directly into the earth, often in a designated natural burial ground or conservation area. The burial site is usually marked with a simple, natural marker, such as a tree or rock, rather than a traditional headstone.

By avoiding embalming fluids and other chemicals, green burials prevent the release of toxic substances into the soil and groundwater. Additionally, by using biodegradable materials, the burial site becomes a more sustainable ecosystem, allowing natural processes to occur and supporting plant and animal life.

Overall, green burial is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional burial practices that prioritizes sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Is green burial legal in Kansas and Missouri?

Green burial is legal in both Kansas and Missouri. Each state's law does not require embalming or the use of a casket for burial. In fact, Missouri state law only requires that the body be enclosed in a burial container that is appropriate for the manner of burial chosen, whether that is a casket or shroud. There are several natural burial grounds and conservation areas in Kansas and Missouri that offer green burial options. These sites have their own rules and regulations, so it is important to research and choose a site that aligns with your values and preferences.

What does green burial save in fossil fuel?

Green burial can save a significant amount of fossil fuel compared to traditional burial practices. Traditional burial practices typically involve embalming the body, which requires the use of chemicals and energy-intensive processes. Additionally, traditional burial often involves the use of a high-cost casket made of non-biodegradable materials and a concrete or metal burial vault, which also require significant amounts of energy to produce and transport.

In contrast, green burial avoids the use of embalming chemicals, non-biodegradable materials, and concrete or metal vaults. By using biodegradable materials, green burial supports the natural decomposition of the body and promotes a sustainable ecosystem. The result is a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources.

The exact amount of fossil fuel saved by green burial can vary depending on the specific practices and materials used in traditional burial and green burial. However, studies have shown that green burial can save several hundred pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per burial compared to traditional burial practices.

How much does green burial cost?

The cost of a green burial can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the location, burial site, type of burial container, and other funeral expenses. In general, green burials tend to be less expensive than traditional burials because they do not require embalming or the use of a high-cost casket or vault.

The cost of a green burial may include the cost of the burial site, which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the location and type of site. The cost of a biodegradable casket or shroud can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Other expenses may include transportation of the body, funeral service fees, and end-of-life arrangements.

What can be done with my remains after green burial?

After a green burial, your remains will decompose naturally and become part of the surrounding ecosystem. Depending on the burial site, your remains may contribute to the growth of plants or the sustenance of wildlife in the area.

If you have specific wishes for what should be done with your remains after a green burial, it is important to make those wishes known to your loved ones and/or in your end-of-life plans. For example, you may wish to have a tree planted at the burial site in your memory or have your remains scattered in a particular location.