The definition by the Institue of Cemetery and Crematorium Management of a ‘natural burial’ is:
“A funeral that has a low environmental impact”.
Society’s growing awareness of and concern for, the environmental impact of mankind’s activities has led to a surge in the interest of Celebrant led, low environmental impact funerals. There are now approximately 300 Natural Burial sites in the UK. The long term aim for a majority of these sites is that they will be returned to nature; often woodland.
To minimise the environmental impact, a coffin is required at most sites, these can be traditional wooden coffin, hand woven wicker or cardboard coffins are now available. Traditional headstones are not permitted and any items that are not fully biodegradable are not permitted on graves.
Most natural burial sites have no form of buildings or structures and, therefore, everything is conducted outside. As with municipal cemeteries, natural burial sites are non-religious. There can be much greater flexibility regarding the content of the service and often the time constraints of a ceremony held in a crematorium will not apply. It is advisable, however, to this check with your Funeral Director.
(Picture: Courtesy of http://www.tonybrownfuneralservices.co.uk).
It is possible to create a respectful and meaningful ‘person-centred’ ceremony based entirely on the values, wishes and beliefs of the deceased and their family. The ceremony could incorporate music, readings and tributes from family and friends; should they wish to contribute.
Ceremonies conducted by Celebrants in natural burial grounds are often much more peaceful and person focused than ceremonies held in a crematorium, due to the intimacy of the setting and the tranquility of the natural environment.