Hello from Vermont Natural Burial!
Many people who are interested in natural burial are concerned about the environment. Natural burial offers a chance to make ecologically responsible decisions about what happens to your body after you die. Many people have heard that cremation is more environmentally friendly than conventional burial practices that involve embalming, concrete grave liners, and caskets made of rare hardwoods. While that's true, cremation still uses a lot of fossil fuel and releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses. However, for many people, cremation is simple, affordable, and the best choice for them.
So, can you be cremated and buried at our natural cemetery? The answer is yes. Unlike the bone meal we buy for our gardens, ashes after cremation are not good for the soil because the heat of the process locks in the calcium and potassium. They also have a pH of 11.4 and are very salty. But, there are several ways ashes can be buried at our cemetery. Ashes, in a biodegradable urn or without a container, can be buried at a depth of about 5 feet, below the active layers of the soils to protect the roots, microorganisms, and mycelia closer to the surface.
Ashes can also be amended to help neutralize the pH, offset the sodium, and "unlock" the calcium and potassium, and then buried or turned into the soil. Finally, ashes can be scattered in symbolic amounts in our designated scattering section or at a grave of a loved one.
Are you interested in learning more about how your disposition can have a minimal environmental impact? Let us know what your questions are and we'll address them in an upcoming newsletter.
Help us spread the word about Vermont Natural Burial by telling people about our website vermontnaturalburial.org and mailing list.
The Vermont Natural Burial Team