Who We Are
The Green Burial Association of Maryland promotes environmentally sound burial practices in the State of Maryland through public education, funeral industry outreach, legislative advocacy, and support for creating conservation burial grounds. Green Burial upholds natural resource and land conservation, worker health protection, and reduction of pollutants and carbon emissions.
GBAM is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your financial support for our volunteer efforts is fully tax deductible.
What is Green Burial?
Green Burial is a natural process. It was the traditional method of burial until about 150 years ago. It is a way of caring for the dead with dignity and minimal impact on the environment.
Green Burials use non-toxic and biodegradable caskets or shrouds, and the body is not embalmed. Concrete vaults and grave liners are not used.
The land remains in a natural state that does not require the use of lawn fertilizers, pesticides, or extensive landscaping. Natural grave markers, such as flat river stones or native plantings, are used to mark the grave site. Green Burial conserves resources, reduces carbon emissions, protects workers’ health, and preserves or restores natural habitats.
Options for Green Burial
Hybrid Cemeteries are conventional cemeteries that have set aside a portion of their grounds for natural burial.
Green Burial Parks are wholly dedicated to natural burials.
Conservation Burial Grounds embody the highest level of environmental responsibility. They consist of land designated for natural burials, restricted to preserve the land in perpetuity.
Environmental Impact of Conventional Burial
Each year in the United States we bury over 850,000 gallons of embalming fluid, over a million and a half tons of reinforced concrete, almost 100,000 tons of steel, almost 3,000 tons of copper and bronze, and over 30 million board feet of hardwoods. In addition, embalming fluids and casket finishes leach into the soil and are associated with adverse health consequences in workers exposed to them. Natural burial eliminates these threats to health and the environment.
Benefits of Green Burial
In addition to the environmental and health benefits, natural burial allows family and friends to participate more fully in the experience of burying a loved one. Instead of one’s final act being an addition to global warming, natural burial returns earthly remains to the earth and the ongoing cycle of life.