Frequently Asked Questions About Green Burial

Have questions about green burial? Thanks to our friends at the Green Burial Association of Maryland (GBAM), we have some answers and steps you can take to support green burial!

What About Funeral Homes?

Part of the mission of the Green Burial Association of Maryland is to engage and educate funeral homes in Maryland about green burial as an option. Our goal is to reach out so funeral homes and cemeteries will be better informed and situated to offer green choices to interested Marylanders.

What If A Loved One Has Asked For a Green Burial?

Be sure the funeral director or home funeral guide understands that the body should not be embalmed, but rather preserved using other methods such as dry ice. The body will should also be placed in a non-toxic or biodegradable shroud or casket.

How Much Does A Green Burial Cost?

Funeral home and cemetery costs for a green burial, as for a traditional burial, are established by each funeral home and cemetery.

What are the Effects of Green Burial on the Earth?

Soil and medical science suggest that a body buried using green methods does not contaminate soil or water supplies as long as sound burial practices are followed. Green cemeteries will not contribute lawn-maintenance fertilizer or pesticide run-off to streams and the Bay. In a green burial the body returns to earth, adding nutrients to the soil and completing the natural cycle of life. For a comparison of the effects of Green and Traditional burial on the earth, please refer to Green Burial Council factsheet.

What About Cremation?

While cremation remains take up smaller space, each cremation uses the fossil fuel equivalent of a 4,800 mile car trip; crematory ovens are heated to 1,400-2,100 degrees for two to three hours. Cremations release greenhouse gases such as Co2 and sulphur dioxide, as well as mercury into the atmosphere. For these reasons, cremation is not in keeping with the desire to minimize our final impact on the environment.

What Steps Can I Take To Support Green Burial In Maryland?

– Call cemeteries and funeral directors and ask if they have a green burial option
– Public advocacy: Show up at meetings and legislative hearings where green burial is being considered.
– Make your wishes known to family members
– Pre-plan your funeral and burial options
– Become a member by joining the Green Burial Association of Maryland (GBAM) on our Contact page


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