Losing a loved one requires the surviving family members to make important decisions, such as the final burial of the remains. Traditionally, families had two options for disposing of a deceased person's remains. The body was either embalmed and buried, or cremated. A more recent alternative is called a natural, or green, burial. This article tales a closer look at the process. 

What is natural burial?

In traditional burials, embalming fluid, which often contains toxic chemicals, is placed into the body of the deceased. The fluid stops the degeneration of the body that would occur naturally. A natural, or green, burial does not embalm the body. It allow the natural process of decomposition to take its course. The body will decompose in the soil and become a part of the natural world rather than remain in a chemically preserved. 

Why choose natural burial?

Some people simply do not like the idea of having their bodies embalmed. They see no reason that their remains should be preserved in this fashion. In other cases, people have environmental concerns about the disposition of their bodies. Cremation can have a negative impact on the environment due to the gases released during the process. Also, the toxic chemicals used in embalming fluid are a problem for some environmentally-conscious individuals. A natural burial is a green alternative that avoids these types of negative environmental impacts

What is the process?

For a natural burial, the body is not filled with any chemicals or fluids, although it may be temporarily preserved with dry ice or refrigeration. Also, the body is not placed into a metal casket, as the metal would not be biodegradable. Typically, the remains are set in a shroud made from natural materials or an environmentally-friendly container, such as a wicker coffin or a box made of wood. The remains are set directly into the ground and not put into a burial vault. 

What's the law?

The laws of all 50 states allow for a natural burial in an appropriate green cemetery . There may be some variation in the laws from state to state, so always check the laws in your area in advance. Depending on state and local laws, you might be allowed to perform a natural burial on private land, as long as certain requirements are met, such as the number of acres on the property. 

Natural burials are an intriguing way for people to dispose of human remains in way that respects the environment. For more information, contact a local funeral home.

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