The Five Principles of Green Burial (As described on the Green Burial Society of Canada Website http://www.greenburialcanada.ca/greenburial)

The following are the essential criteria that should be present to properly qualify an interment as a ‘Green Burial’.

No Embalming- Human remains are prepared for green burial without embalming. Decomposition is nature’s way of recycling a body.  From this perspective families who choose green burial regard embalming as a highly invasive, unnatural and unnecessary practice. Human remains that are not embalmed can still be prepared for burial and viewing. With refrigeration and the use of topical (external) application of environmentally sensitive soaps, lotions and disinfection agents, human remains can, without embalming, be prepared and dressed for a dignified viewing.

Direct Earth Burial- The un-embalmed remains are wrapped in a shroud made of natural, biodegradable fibres and then buried directly in the grave.

Alternatively, the shrouded remains can be placed into a casket or alternative form of container, where the casket or container is also made of sustainable and fully biodegradable materials. In an ideal circumstance the shrouds and/or casket will be locally sourced, as close as possible to the deceased’s place of death and green burial. For green burial no outside grave liner or protective vault is used. The shrouded and/or casketed body is buried directly into the ground.     

Ecological Restoration & Conservation- Once a green burial has been completed the surface of every grave is, after allowing some time for grave settling, planted with locally indigenous plant materials, using a combination of groundcover, shrubs and trees.  These plantings will normally be done according to a pre-established planting plan designed to optimize the creation, enhancement and integration of the interment area into the greater local eco-system.

Sensitivity to and protection of the growing and eventually the established eco-system of the interment area is essential.  For this reason the visitation of individual graves is discouraged and may eventually be prohibited.  Visitation of the interment area is managed through the sensitive placement of walking paths and the occasional bench, optimally placed adjacent to the communal memorial for the site.

Site preservation and perpetual protection is a key component of this principle of green burial.  A combination of the use of covenants, protective easements and other enforceable guarantees made by the green burial cemetery operator are put in place to ensure the site will never be repurposed and the natural eco-system protected – in perpetuity.  

Communal Memorialization- For green burial the use of individual memorials is discouraged.  Instead communal memorialization, again using naturally sourced materials, is placed in the green burial cemetery (or cemetery section) and only simple, basic inscriptions are made. Ultimately it is the green burial site as whole that becomes a living memorial to the persons interred there.

Optimize Land Use- A well planned green burial cemetery (or cemetery section) will optimize the land it occupies. 

Design elements will include minimal installation of infrastructure, temporary roads that can be removed and converted into interment lots, operationally pragmatic grave dimensions and section lot plans that maximize interment capacity are some of the considerations applied. The re-use of graves is a highly sustainable practice that optimizes land use in a green burial (or any) cemetery.  See following for further comment on this practice in Canada. 

Also, where the interment of bodies cannot be accommodated in a green burial area these ‘border or surplus’ zones may be purposed for the green burial of cremated remains using surface or sub-surface disposition methods.


BLISS is a proud member of the www.greenburialcanada.ca

Green/Natural burial is a growing request and consideration for many families. Although some prefer traditional forms of
burial, many people are moving towards environmentally friendly option for end of life matters while others will accept
nothing less.

At Bliss, everything we do and each service we provide takes into consideration our environmental footprint. We make
every effort to ensure we lessen our impact in a variety of ways. Because the eco-trend is on the incline, presently there
are limited options for green burial. However, this is bound to change as the requests and concerns of consumers are
being heard and provided.

In time, more and more cemeteries and crematoriums will be providing better eco-friendly/green options. Thus, the need
for “shades of green” considerations. As an example, the products offered can be fully green or biodegradable. Vehicles,
emissions, and other forms of services provided can all lessen the impact on the environment while maintaining
affordability for families.

Bliss provides biodegradable Caskets, Shrouds and Urns for those requesting cremation and/or earth burial.
Ultimately, we try to be as creative as possible within the present laws to ensure you receive the greenest possible
services. Leading the way in Full Green Burial options is the Royal Oak Burial Park. Bliss works closely with this
Cemetery to ensure that your Green requests are being provide.

Please find more information about this cemetery here. If the Woodlands is your chosen burial site, rest assured Bliss can facilitate all arrangements for a Full Green Burial Experience.

Helpful Links:

http://www.naturalburialassoc.ca

http://www.dinbc.ca/

http://www.greenburialcanada.ca