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Natural Earth Burial & Green Cemeteries.

Updated on October 14, 2014

Natural Earth Burial &Green Cemeteries.

This lens talks about Natural Burial and Green Cemeteries in Western Australia, Australia and overseas. Due to an increased interest and awareness in environmental issues and the green choices we can make, there is a growing trend towards Natural Earth Burial and more ecologically sound ways of dealing with the dead. There are now Natural Earth Burial grounds and Green Cemeteries.

Fremantle Cemetery has now got a designated natural burial ground.

I will provide information and links to various sites which discuss and describe natural earth burial and support this growing trend to more ecologically sound deathcare practices.

GREEN BURIAL.

This video was filmed in the USA but is just as relevant in Australia.

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WHAT IS A NATURAL EARTH BURIAL GROUND/ CEMETERY?

A Natural Earth burial ground is a place where people are buried in simple shrouds or biodegradable coffins so that the body decomposes quickly and nourishes the earth. Bodies are not able to be embalmed due to the chemicals involved and there are usually stringent guidelines in terms of what materials can be buried with the deceased and what materials the coffins are made from. This is to ensure that there is no pollution to the burial grounds. There are no headstones or memorial plaques like conventional cemeteries. The land is usually regenerated back into bushland. The cemetery then becomes a beautiful landscape and ecosystem rather than a field of grass and cement and plastic flowers.

It is very much the green alternative for the future, especially when we are running out of land for new cemeteries and old ones are filling up.It also alleviates the energy consumption that is currently involved in the burial and cremation practices of today. It allows people an alternative choice to regular burials or cremations and a choice in reducing their carbon footprint.

The photo illustrates the difference between regular burial and a natural earth burial.

NATURAL BURIAL SERIES VOL.1

Again this was filmed in USA but information still relevant to Australia.

TERRY WARD NATURAL BURIAL SERIES VOL 2.

NATURAL BURIAL SERIES VOL 3

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WESTERN AUSTRALIAN NATURAL BURIAL SITES.

The Western Australian Metropolitan Cemetery Board has now opened up a Natural Burial site at Fremantle Cemetery and are proposing one at Rockingham Regional Memorial Park Cemetery.

You are required to fill out a Natural Burial Agreement and submit this with your Application for Burial Paperwork.

This agreement outlines all of the guidelines and requirements that must be adhered to.

These relate to the type of materials that can and can't be used for the coffin, funeral clothes, flowers and so on.

At present there are only three types of coffins which are acceptable, but they are still looking into other types and brands.

You can make your own coffin but again there are set requirements in regards to the materials used.Refer to coffin making information below.

No embalming of the body is allowed.

The Cemetery Board have a brochure available but for further information they request you go through a funeral director.

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OTHER AUSTRALIAN NATURAL BURIAL CEMETERIES.

There are other cemeteries in Australia offering Natural Burial grounds. They are present in most states of Australia.

NEW SOUTH WALES: Lismore Bushland Cemetery which is part of the Lismore Memorial Gardens.

VICTORIA: Lilydale Cemeteries Trust offer sites at two of there cemeteries.One at Lilydale Memorial Park and the other at Healesville Cemetery.

TASMANIA: There is a natural burial site at Kingston Cemetery. I couldn't find much information on this one.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Enfield Memorial Park has recently opened a site called Wirra Wonga.

Refer to the link list below for further information.

LINKS TO GREEN CEMETERIES AND NATURAL BURIAL WEBSITES.

Most of the Natural Earth Burial and Green Cemetery websites are American based but we are starting to see a shift in awareness in Australia now and there are some new websites.

Please check out the following.

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MAKING YOUR OWN COFFIN.

Making your own coffin or making one for a loved one can be a very rewarding experience. There are guidelines and sizes that you must adhere to and you can contact your local cemetery for this information. The coffin for a natural burial has certain requirements for it to be classed as environmentally suitable.

The following are some basic guidelines which are to be adhered to:

- Must be structurally sound

- Constructed of timber like plantation pine.Metal pins and screws kept to minimum and non-galvanised.

- Sealed with non-permanent,non-chemical and biodegradable product.

- Impervious to liquids and odours.

- Liners must be biodegradeable.

- Lid is secure especially during handling and transport.

- No distortion during handling and transportation.

- Handles are to be made of biodegradable materials such as rope or wood.

- Body is to be wrapped or clothed in shroud made of natural fibres.

- Has appropriate identification tags attached.Name plate is made of biodegradable material like wood or ungalvanised metal.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for addressing the topic. I think the trend is slow to take off here in the U.S. but it's gaining momentum.