NH Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy
PO Box 456, Holderness NH 03245   603.236.9495
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Green Burial
The practice of burying bodies without embalming with toxic chemicals,
encasing in metal or rainforest wood caskets, or cement or plastic outer
vaults—truly body to earth—is timeless, interrupted only over the
past 75 –100 years. Efforts to return to these ancient, eco-friendly
ways are gaining momentum across the country and the few places
elsewhere in the world that recently adopted modern burial practices. 
Of particular environmental and health concern is embalming, an invasive
process with no lasting benefits beyond the cosmetic, and which poses a major
health hazard to embalmers who reportedly have an 8-times greater chance
of contracting cancer, leukemia and other blood diseases.

New Hampshire mandates that each town provide burial space for its residents. 
Hybrid cemeteries are municipal cemeteries whose Trustees agree to relaxing 
policies that require outer burial vaults, the purpose of which is to make lawn 
mowing easier. Lawn maintenance, and the use of embalming fluid, herbicides 
and pesticides, which pose a significant health hazard to embalmers and cemetery 
employees respectively, are not allowed in green burial space. Natural burial is being 
welcomed on conservation lands, providing families pristine, natural environments 
in which to remember their loved ones while supporting the preservation of intrinsically 
valuable lands in perpetuity.

According to Mary Woodsen of the Green Burial Council (updated 2014), each year in 22,500 cemeteries in the US we bury : 
  • 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluid, which includes formaldehyde
  • 20 million board feet of hardwoods, including rainforest woods
  • 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete
  • 17,000 tons of copper and bronze
  • 60,000 tons of steel

To learn more about hybrid, conservation and green burial spaces in general,
go to www.greenburialcouncil.org. If you are interested in learning more about
green burial efforts here in NH, click NHFREA The Case for Natural Burial.
Check out our comprehensive list of Green Burial Cemeteries which is updated regularly.

Interested in finding out more about what might go into creating been burial space?
Read our Green Cemetery Start Up Considerations Checklist and suggestions for
Approaching Cemetery Trustees about Hybrid Cemeteries.

If you are interested in meeting other people in your area who want to start a green burial initiative, we are happy to come to you to do presentations that get everyone in the same room. Contact us to schedule an event or include a table with our information by calling 236-9495.

Green Burial Council greenburialcouncil.org
Go to greenburialnaturally.org for your copy!