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Bellefontaine is proud to be a Green Burial Council certified cemetery, offering green burial and green burial products and funeral services in addition to our traditional burial and cremation options. Green burial is an environmentally friendly choice for those wishing to leave a smaller ecological footprint on the earth. Also known as natural burial, this option is free of both conventional chemicals and non-renewable resources. Green burial is often a more affordable funeral option compared to conventional burial, as it forgoes embalming and an outer container for a natural disposition in a simple wicker or wooden casket or burial shroud.
Should you wish to learn more about green burial practices, pricing, or to set up a guided tour of location options, please email us, or contact the cemetery office at 314-381-0750.
Green Burial v. Traditional Burial
Green burial is among the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient forms of interment. Unlike traditional burials, green burials avoid embalming, metal caskets, and burial vaults, which have become standard features for many funerals. Instead, green burial calls for a biodegradable cloth shroud or a simple casket made from renewable material such as pine, bamboo, or wicker.
The Green Experience
Those considering green burial are often surprised to discover how engaging the process can be for the family and loved ones of the deceased. Green burial offers many opportunities for families to participate in a variety of steps throughout the burial process, such as lowering the body into the grave, and filling in the gravespace. Though family participation is entirely optional, many families appreciate the intimacy such close involvement provides.
Green Burial in Historic Bellefontaine
Green burial is permitted throughout all of Bellefontaine Cemetery, whether on a new or existing family lot, or a single grave in a public lot. Individuals can choose to mix green burial options with traditional burial practices to meet specific wishes and desires. For example, one may choose to be unembalmed, in a shroud, biodegradable, is slower in its return to the earth than a shroud or simple casket.
In addition to offering green burial throughout traditional burial sections, Bellefontaine has established a dedicated green burial area known as Evergreen Meadow. Evergreen Meadow offers contemplative spaces on a sunny hillside, and is surrounded by mature trees, drifts of flowering shrubs, and woodland ground cover. A rustic shelter will soon be in place to provide a location for families to sit and reflect or hold small services. Grounds maintenance in this area is environmentally sensitive, with limited mechanized maintenance and no use of pesticides or inorganic fertilizers.
Unlike green burial in other locations within the cemetery, each of the following are integral to each burial in Evergreen Meadow:
- Only un-embalmed full burials; no cremation in this area
- Outer container must be simple and biodegradable, such as a shroud or simple casket; no vaults or traditional wood or metal caskets permitted
- Graves are natural in appearance, and free of individual markers, monuments, or specific plantings
For further information about funeral and burial costs associated with going green, please contact the cemetery office.
Flameless Cremation offers many of the environmental benefits of green burial. The process uses water instead of flame, expending 85% less energy than traditional cremation. Using a combination of gentle water flow, temperature, and alkalinity, flameless cremation accelerates the natural breakdown of the body creating ashes for inurnment or burial. This process mirrors what naturally happens during a green burial, but in a period of 10-12 hours instead of several years.