Understanding Green Burials

Green burial services allow family members and loved ones to care for their departed without making a negative impact on the natural environment. Such practices help to conserve resources, preserve the natural habitat, protect workers from toxic chemicals, and reduce harmful emissions. Funeral providers that have received Green Burial Council certification are able to offer responsible burial services that have been approved by a third party organization committed to reducing harm to the environment. Most Green Burial Council approved funeral providers are even able to accommodate families that would prefer to hold a home funeral.

Biodegradable Products

A growing list of businesses have been certified by the Green Burial Council for selling environmentally friendly funeral products. These providers are able to offer caskets, urns, and shrouds that are created with materials that are biodegradable and nontoxic. These service providers are also known to acquire their materials through non-harmful means, without destroying habitats in the process.


Contrary to popular belief, cremation can be less harmful to the natural world than some other options. Fewer resources are utilized, but there is still an environmental cost as fossil fuels are burned in the process. This does depend, to a degree, on the age of the facility performing the cremation. Some precautionary measures must also be taken to assure that recyclable medical parts are not contributing to pollution during the process. New filtration practices are currently being developed so that, soon, funeral providers will be able to reduce mercury emissions from the burning of dental fillings. There are not currently Green Burial Council approved cremation disposition programs, however.


Those who provide funeral services are susceptible to environmental harm as well. Some embalming fluids contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen chemical known to increase risk of certain kinds of cancer in funeral home directors. There is no longer a need to rely on cancer-causing chemicals, however. Embalming fluids free of formaldehyde are now available, and they have been created using biodegradable, nontoxic essential oils. Green Burial Council certified funeral providers like Skylawn Funeral and Memorial Park are able to offer formaldehyde-free embalming if this is what you have chosen for your loved one.

For more information about green burials, visit our website, or call us at (650) 349-4411.

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