Why would I want a green burial?

People choose green burial because they have a commitment to future generations and the well-being of the planet. They wish their final legacy to be one of caring for the Earth. Green burial returns the nutrients in the body to the cycle of life. For more information, please see our Resources page.

Will a green burial be more expensive?

It is likely to be more expensive than cremation, but less expensive than a conventional burial. This depends on individual choices of casket, shroud, and burial site.

Won’t my family and friends think it’s strange?

Humans have been buried this way until fairly recently. Many families are moved by participating and experiencing the healing that comes from the natural return of their loved ones to the Earth.

Does Maryland law require embalming?

No law requires embalming, because there is no health reason to embalm. Some funeral homes require embalming for a public viewing, but others will arrange viewing without embalming—if you ask. It is possible to have a beautiful viewing without embalming; there are several alternate methods to preserve the body. 

What about burial vaults or grave liners? 

No Maryland law requires vaults or liners. However the vast majority of cemeteries require these in order to facilitate landscaping.  Natural burial grounds prohibit the use of these products.

Does natural burial cause harm to ground water or wells?

No. There is no evidence of any water pollution from a natural cemetery when sound burial practices are followed.  See The Science Behind Green Burial for more information about this topic.

Will animals disturb a natural grave?

There have been no reports of animal disturbance, and this is in light of millennia of natural burials.

Are there cemeteries in Maryland that offer natural burial?

Yes. Please look on our Resources page to get contact information. We will add to that as more cemeteries become available. In addition, there are a number of natural burial grounds in surrounding states.

Can I use a funeral home for a natural burial?

Many funeral directors are open to natural burial, but you might have to specifically ask. At least one Maryland funeral home is marketing itself as a green funeral provider. See Resources.

Can I do it without using a funeral home?

Yes, it is possible in Maryland for families to have a home funeral and act as their own funeral directors. See marylandfuneral.org for more information about this option.

I’ve chosen cremation. Why should I change my mind?

Despite the fact that cremation avoids land use for burial, it is a contributor to global warming. Each cremation causes COemissions into the atmosphere, as well as heavy metals and toxic compounds such as mercury. The cremains contain no usable nutrients.