What is the difference between green and traditional burial? - Heritage Gardens Cemetery

   Green burial has become a hot topic for people who are asking how they can live a more eco-conscious life. So many of us are striving to decrease our environmental impact every day and now there’s an option that can help reduce our environmental impact afterlife. Green burial is a fairly new option and many of our guests are interested but are unsure if this is right for them. This is why we encourage members of our community to consider their options in advance so that they may have their final wishes fulfilled, and not leave substantial decision-making to their grieving loved ones. When our guests are considering their options the same question arises every week. 

What is the difference between green burial and traditional burial?

Traditional Burial 

   Traditional burial refers to embalming the body and the use of a casket and has been a common practice since the 1800s. This started to gain popularity during the Civil War so that soldiers could be transported back to their family’s hometowns and service could be held days or weeks later. These traditional burial practices have been an important part of our history and providing grieving opportunities and closure for families. 

   Here’s how it works. Traditional burial requires the use of embalming fluid which slows down decomposition, and the deceased is placed in a casket. The grave is dug, a vault or liner installed and the casket laid inside. This practice is all in place to ensure that the remains never come into contact with the elements, and therefore our dead are not so much returned to the earth, as they are parked underground.  In the last 50 years, this process has become very commercialized, as certain funeral providers and cemeteries saw the opportunity to implement ‘minimum’ products or practices, to meet the requirements of a traditional burial. These minimums can start in the thousands of dollars, as a handy tool to pad their bottom lines. 

Surrey cemetery

Green Burial

   That’s where green burial comes in. With advancements in technology and more choice than ever being offered to families. Green burial is a return to our roots, bringing the original practices back. Before embalming and fancy caskets, deceased people were wrapped in a cloth or laid in a simple wooden casket and placed directly into the earth. It wasn’t an eco-statement, it was an automatic response to the problem of having a dead person to deal with, and – go figure!- it was a green process by default. Wrapping a loved one in a shroud or placing them in a wooden casket were the only options. As our society is demanding greener ways to live, at our surrey cemetery we have gone to great lengths to restore green burial as an option.

   Today, green burial means being buried in a shroud or wooden or wicker casket. One major advancement has been the strict regulation that requires specially built burial grounds for any green burial cemetery. This ensure that all rainwater and runoff are siphoned through a rock filtration system that naturally treats and cleans the water so that it does not negatively affect the surrounding grounds. You can learn more about how our Surrey cemetery treats this water here. Green burial offers you and your family options that can honour your loved ones with dignity while gently and naturally returning them to the earth. 

   End of life wishes are a deeply personal choice, and Heritage Gardens is here to offer you all the information you need. For more information about your options, visit Our Services page or Contact Us to speak to one of our team members.