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Grave Marker Options for Green Burials

For those that choose cremation because it’s more environmentally friendly than traditional burials, burying the remains isn’t out of the question. Many green cemeteries now have special areas for cremated remains.
Grave Marker Options for Green Burials

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Did you know that 35% of families choose to bury part or all of a loved one’s cremated remains at a cemetery?  

Although the plots are much smaller for cremated remains, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of what can be buried and the process that needs to be taken at a green cemetery. That includes what adorns the gravesite after the burial. 

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know before selecting a grave marker for a green burial site. 

Find Out If Grave Markers Are Allowed

Grave markers are the norm at a traditional cemetery, but that isn’t always the case at a green cemetery. Some green cemeteries are certified as conservation burial grounds. That means everything is as natural as possible so that there is almost no impact on the environment. The goal is for the cemetery to look like the rest of the surroundings so you’d never know graves were there.

If it’s a hybrid green cemetery there are less restrictions and you may be able to use a standard grave marker or headstone like you would at any other cemetery. There are also natural green cemeteries that require everything to be naturally-derived or biodegradable whether it’s put in the grave or on top.  

It may seem like a lot of restrictions for something that’s commonly used, but for a green cemetery there could be consequences. The Green Burial Council suggests that cemeteries limit the use of grave markers so that they can maintain their green certification. 

All-Natural is the Way to Go

If grave markers are allowed you can rest assured that only all-natural materials can be used. Think stone, wood, cotton and found objects out in nature.

Natural stone is a very popular option. Engravings can be hand-carved into the stone. Just make sure there are no finishes or sealants put on the stone. 

Using vegetation, flowers and trees is another popular way to mark a green gravesite. You could even opt for an urn that contains a tree sapling that will grow on the grave site.  Often, green cemeteries will prefer that flora and fauna are used as a marker rather than a manmade marker. When you’re choosing plants for a green burial site it’s a good idea to stick to native species that grow in the area without much help. 

DIY Grave Markers for Green Burials

 It’s very common for the family to create their own grave marker for a green burial site. It could be a simple arrangement of stones that are found around the grave site. Or it could be a piece of wood with an engraving. 

There are a lot of ways a family can make an all-natural DIY grave marker or headstone for a green burial. As long as you stick to natural materials it should meet the green cemetery’s standards. 

The one thing to be careful of is restrictions related to aesthetics. Some green cemeteries want to preserve a completely natural look. For that reason, the grave marker will often need to lay flat on the ground if it isn’t a plant so that it doesn’t impede on the landscape. The cemetery may also forbid polished stone because it doesn’t look natural.

Consider Long-Term Care for the Grave Marker

One thing to think about with a DIY grave marker is longevity. The requirements for long-term care of a green burial site are sometimes more involved than a traditional burial. 

Markers that are made out of stone and meant to withstand the elements so maintenance shouldn’t be a problem. Or you could go in the complete opposite direction and select a grave marker that is meant to biodegrade over time. 

Green Cremation Texas has close working relationships with green cemeteries around the state. If you’d like to know more about the process of green cremation or what happens when cremated remains are buried, please contact us by phone, text or email any day of the week.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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