Green Burial Grounds – Proposed Standards
The Green Burial Council (GBC) certifies three categories of cemeteries. In December 2011, the Green Pet-Burial Society proposed a modified version of their former four-category standards:
1. Hybrid cemetery – a portion of the cemetery is a conventional mixed-media cemetery, with another section dedicated exclusively to green burials (i.e., interment in eco-friendly container or shroud). Without a dedicated section, there is little appeal for those seeking a more natural burial.
2. Low-impact cemetery – the entire cemetery has a policy of only using eco-friendly containers or shrouds in a park-like setting. Additionally, the cemetery adopts a program of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Above the surface, these cemeteries may appear to look like traditional cemeteries or memorial parks.
3. Natural burial ground – same as a low-impact cemetery but in a more natural environment (e.g., little landscaping, no irrigation, modest or no markers). This cemetery provides a more naturalistic experience.
4. Conservation burial ground/wildlife sanctuary – a natural environment regulated in partnership with a nonprofit conservation organization or government agency. Such lands provide havens for native wildlife (important to any lover of animals!) and encourage natural flora to become reestablished. Depending on the condition of the land, as well as local wildlife populations, the preserve may require reconstruction activities. This may involve human-made structures such as those that provide shelter, facilitate breeding, or serve as feeding stations. If such structures are to be permanent, they may also serve as markers for particular graves.
updated March 2, 2015