5 Green Funeral & Eco Friendly Burials: Full Guide (2023 Costs)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Eco-Friendly Natural Products | November 8, 2023

Couple wondering about green funeral options, including tree urn, tree pod burial, green funeral locations and eco friendly burial and interment.

Planning a green funeral, one that limits the emissions and cost to the planet, is something more and more people are considering.

For many, the thought of a traditional funeral with its expensive casket and embalming fluids, is unappealing or against religious convictions.1 Fortunately, there is an alternative.

Green funeral and eco-friendly burial options are available in many countries and almost every U.S. state has regulations or guidelines in place for natural interment.

This complete guide outlines five of the green funeral options that offer alternatives to traditional burials, and the costs associated with them.

What Is a Green Funeral and What Are My Options?

Green funerals are more environmentally friendly, using sustainable materials and practices. By doing so, environmental impact can be lessen.

Here are some of the options to choose from when considering a green funeral:

#1: Tree Coffin (Wood Coffin or Wicker Casket)

Tree coffins are a type of coffin used for green burials. It is usually made of a tree trunk. This is also one of the most common alternatives to the usual type of coffins made of wood or metal. This type of coffin may be made of wood out of Willow Tree or Poplar Tree though there are some who use other sturdy types of wood.

This coffin is also customized to the size of the deceased and includes a removable lid. Adding carvings and other designs is also an option aside from leaving it plain.

Estimated Cost: $7,000 – $12,000

#2: Tree Pod Burial

Tree pod burial is a type of green organic burial pod wherein the deceased person’s body is put in a pod made of a biodegradable container and is then buried on the ground.

The body will be in a fetal position while inside the pod, and on top of it would be a tree which will be nourished as the body decomposes.

Although slowly getting its popularity because it involves nourishing trees, it is becoming a challenge for some because this requires a larger burial plot and may involve higher costs.

Estimated Cost: $1000 – $4000

#3: Cremation Tree Pod

A cremation tree pod is known to be an eco-friendly alternative to conventional burials.

This process involves the deceased person’s placement of ashes in a biodegradable urn. This urn is then buried under the ground in which a tree will be planted in its exact location.

Just like how the tombstone serves as the deceased symbol of memory, the planted tree serves as his or her living memorial.

This type of green burial is getting its popularity because it is known to help the environment be healthy. The trees planted reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Estimated Cost: $1000 – $4000

#4: Cardboard Casket

A cardboard casket is almost the same as a conventional casket, except that this is made of cardboard. Because of its light material, it can be decorated with images and other designs.

A waterproof coating is usually added to lessen the occurrence of moisture and may also be wrapped with fabric to prevent damage while being carried or transported. This is commonly used for direct cremation services.

Estimated Cost: $1000 – $4000

#5: Rock Salt Urn

Rock salt urns can be used for green burials at the sea, lake, river, and even ground.

This type of urn is commonly made of the Himalayas salt. The ashes of the deceased person will be put into this urn and can be placed underwater. Once submerged in the water, the urn dissolves in as fast as 4 hours along with the ashes.

It is worth noting that rock salt urn is not designed for long-term display. Salt attracts moisture from the air which may cause the disintegration of the urn.

Estimated Cost: $1000 – $4000

Aside from the options above, people wanting to have a green funeral may choose forging embalming fluid in favor dry ice for preservation. Doing so will help reduce toxic wastes from seeping into soil.

By making some simple changes, it is possible to have a respectful and sustainable funeral that honors your loved one and the planet.

What Are Tree Coffins?

Tree coffins are a type of burial container made from biodegradable materials. The idea behind them is that they offer an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional caskets or cremation.

A cardboard coffin in a crematorium chapel with a bouquet of flowers and a book on the top.

(Image: The Good Funeral Guide7)

Tree coffins are made from cardboard or wicker, lined with natural materials like wool or cotton and are often decorated with leaves, flowers, or other plant life.

Once the body has been placed in the tree coffin, it is buried in a shallow grave. The coffin will eventually decompose, leaving behind only the natural materials it was made from which, for many people, offer a more sustainable way to deal with death. They also provide a unique opportunity to be close to nature, even after death.

Why Are Tree Coffins Beneficial?

Tree coffins are becoming an increasingly popular option for environmentally conscious people who want to be buried in a way that is respectful to the planet.2 Unlike traditional coffins made of wood or metal, tree coffins are made from biodegradable materials such as willow, bamboo, or even cardboard.

They are designed to decompose quickly and safely, providing nutrients for the tree as it grows.

In addition to being eco-friendly, tree coffins are often more affordable than traditional options. As more people become concerned about the environmental impact of their choices, tree coffins will likely continue to gain in popularity.

How Does a Cremation Tree Pod Work?

A cremation tree pod is made from biodegradable materials and contains the ashes of your loved one. The pod is then placed at the base of a tree, where it will decompose and release the ashes into the soil. The tree will then absorb the nutrients from the ashes, providing a living memorial for your loved one.

If you’re interested in cremation but looking for a more natural option, a cremation tree pod and tree pod burial may be right. It’s a beautiful way to honor your loved one’s memory and ensure that they live on in nature.

Are Cremation Tree Pods Beneficial?

Cremation tree pods are becoming an increasingly popular choice for those who wish to be cremated. Unlike traditional urns, these pods are designed to break down over time, releasing the deceased’s ashes into the environment.3

While some see this as a more natural and eco-friendly option, there are a few things to consider before choosing a tree pod burial.

One is that any government agency does not currently regulate them, so there is no guarantee of quality or safety.

In addition, they can be expensive, and you may need to purchase multiple organic burial pods if you have a large family. Finally, it is essential to consider how your loved ones will feel about your decision and while cremation tree pods offer many benefits, they may not be suitable for everyone.

How To Become a Tree After Death

There are several advantages to using sustainable products. Think of how amazing it would be to find the best natural shampoo and make a positive impact on our environment at the same time. The good news is that you can continue to make a difference even after death.

Have you ever thought about what happens to your body after you die? What if you could become a tree after death? While it might sound far-fetched, it is possible to have your remains turned into a tree.

The process is known as “Capsula Mundi,” which involves encapsulating your body in a pod. The pod will then be buried, and a tree will be planted on top of it. Over time, the tree will grow and consume the pod, turning you into part of the natural world.

If you’re interested in becoming a tree after death, there are a few things you need to do: First, you need to find someone certified to perform the Capsula Mundi ceremony. Cocoon tree pod burial costs vary from state to state.

Second, you need to choose the type of tree you want to be. There are a variety of options available, from oak tree to cherry blossom tree.

Image of Cherry Tree blossoms during sunset.

(Image: Jan Huber8)

Finally, you need to make sure that your family is on board with the idea.

Becoming a tree after death is a unique way to have your remains go on to help the environment.

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional burial or cremation, Capsula Mundi might be right for you.

Is It Beneficial To Become a Tree After Death?

As the human population continues to grow, finding ways to replace the trees the earth is losing is vital. One way to do this is by becoming a tree after death.

When a human body decomposes, it returns nutrients to the soil. If those nutrients are used to nourish a tree, it can help to offset the loss of another tree. Through these carbon offset trees, we can decrease the harmful effects we have on our environment.

In addition, trees provide a range of environmental benefits, including reducing carbon dioxide levels and providing animal habitats.4 For these reasons, becoming a tree after death can be a beneficial way to help the planet.

What Is a Tree Urn?

A tree urn is designed to hold the ashes of a loved one after cremation. The urn is buried at the base of a tree, and the tree acts as a living memorial that grows and changes over time. Tree urns are available in various designs, and many families choose an urn that reflects their loved one’s personalities or interests.

For example, there are urns shaped like birdhouses, fishing creels, or even golf bags. Some tree urns are even designed to decompose along with the ashes, returning the nutrients to the soil and nourishing the tree that grows above. Whether you choose a traditional or unique tree urn, it will surely be a beautiful and lasting tribute to your loved one.

What Are the Benefits of a Tree Urn?

A tree urn is a type of cremation urn that allows you to grow a tree from the ashes of your loved one. Not only does this provide a beautiful and living memorial, but it also has many other benefits.

Tree urns are made to biodegrade quickly and provide nutrients to the tree as it grows around the urn.

The urn acts as a support system for the roots and helps the tree get established more quickly.

In addition, tree urns can help increase an area’s biodiversity by providing a habitat for small animals and insects. By choosing a tree urn, you can be confident that your loved one’s remains will be used to benefit the environment and provide shelter for wildlife.

Considering the green funeral is a step one can do in helping our environment. Another one would be knowing what are the best carbon offset programs available. Through these actions, we will be able to combat climate change.

How To Find the Right Green Funeral Near Me

Funeral homes are increasingly offering “green” or natural burial options that allow loved ones to be laid to rest in a more eco-friendly way.5 If you’re interested in exploring this option for yourself or a family member, you may wonder how to find a green funeral home near you.

One way to start your search is by asking friends and family if they know of any funeral homes that offer green burial options. You can also use an online directory, which provides a list of natural burial providers across the United States. Once you have a few options, you can call or visit each funeral home to learn more about their offerings and what type of environment they provide.

When considering a green funeral home, finding one that shares your values and provides the setting you’re looking for is essential. For example, some funeral homes may only offer cremation services, while others may only offer traditional burial options. Make sure to ask about all available options so that you can make the best decision for your needs and with some research, you should find the perfect green funeral home near you.

Green Funeral: How To Locate the Best Green Burial Cemeteries Near Me

Green burials are designed to minimize the environmental impact of a funeral, and there are several ways to achieve this. One option is to choose a biodegradable casket or shroud, which will decompose over time. Another option is to choose a location that uses sustainable practices, such as using native plants or relying on solar power.

You can also look for cemeteries that allow you to bury your loved ones without using chemicals or concrete vaults.

If you’re interested in finding a green burial cemetery near you, the best place to start is by doing an online search.

You can also ask your local funeral director for recommendations. With a little bit of research, you should be able to find a green burial cemetery that meets your needs and preferences.

Green Burial Sites in All 50 States


Green Burial AlabamaForest Lawn Memorial Gardens
Green Burial AlaskaAlaska Natural Burial
Green Burial ArizonaMarana Mortuary Cemetery
Green Burial ArkansasGracelawn Memorial Park
Green Burial CaliforniaBlue Lake Cemetery
Green Burial ColoradoColorado Burial Preserve
Green Burial ConnecticutFountain Hills Cemetery
Green Burial DelawareGracelawn Memorial Park
Green Burial District of ColumbiaHistoric Congressional Cemetery
Green Burial FloridaEternal Rest Memorial Park
Green Burial GeorgiaMilton Fields
Green Burial Hawaii9 Hybrid Cemetery Sites in the County of Hawaii
Green Burial IdahoMountain View Green Cemetery
Green Burial IllinoisPleasant Grove Memorial Park
Green Burial IndianaWashington Park North
Green Burial IowaRose Hill Memorial Gardens
Green Burial KansasAscension Cemetery of Bel Aire
Green Burial KentuckyGreen Haven Cemetery
Green Burial LouisianaGarden of Memories Cemetery
Green Burial MaineBurr Cemetery
Green Burial MarylandBaltimore Hebrew Belair Road Cemetery
Green Burial MassachusettsAbel’s Hill Cemetery
Green Burial MichiganChassell Township Cemetery
Green Burial MinnesotaFort Snelling National Cemetery
Green Burial MississippiNatchez Trace Memorial Park Cemetery
Green Burial MissouriBellefontaine Cemetery
Green Burial MontanaInfinity Cemetery
Green Burial Nebraska ​John A. Gentleman Mortuaries and Crematory
Green Burial Nevada ​Eastside Memorial Park
Green Burial New HampshireAcworth Cemetery
Green Burial New JerseyMaryrest Cemetery
Green Burial New MexicoLa Puerta Natural Burial
Green Burial New YorkSt. Michael’s Meadow
Green Burial North CarolinaBluestem Conservation Cemetery
Green Burial North DakotaRolling Green Cemetery
Green Burial OhioCalvary Cemetery
Green Burial OklahomaChisholm Trail Burial Park
Green Burial OregonAlder Slope Cemetery
Green Burial PennsylvaniaBeechwood Cemetery
Green Burial Rhode IslandArnold Mills Cemetery
Green Burial South CarolinaDust to Dust Green Burial Cemetery
Green Burial South DakotaHills of Rest Memorial Park
Green Burial TennesseeElmwood Cemetery
Green Burial TexasCountryside Memorial Park
Green Burial UtahAultorest Memorial Park
Green Burial VermontAinsworth Cemetery
Green Burial VirginiaCool Spring Natural Cemetery
Green Burial WashingtonCedar Lawns Memorial Park
Green Burial West VirginiaGreenlawn Masonic Cemetery
Green Burial WisconsinAmery Prairie Home Cemetery
Green Burial WyomingPinedale Cemetery

Why Choose a Green Funeral?

Many people are asking why is sustainable use of natural resources is important. One of the main benefits of having a green funeral is that it helps to reduce your impact on the environment. In addition, green funerals often use recycled materials, which helps to save money and resources.

Environmentally friendly funeral services often use sustainable wood for coffins and avoid harmful chemicals. They also avoid using plastics and other non-biodegradable materials. Overall, choosing a green funeral is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment while still celebrating the life of your loved one.

Related Reading: Carbon Footprint Calculator: Find YOUR Eco Footprint in Real Time

How To Start a Green Cemetery

Green cemeteries are often located in natural areas such as parks or forests. They may also use natural burials in which the body is buried without a coffin or vault. If you are interested in starting a green cemetery, there are a few things you need to do.

First, you will need to find a suitable piece of land.

Photo of a forest with properly spaced trees perfect for green funeral.

(Image: baumannideen9)

This land should be large enough to accommodate the number of burials you anticipate, and it should have good drainage and plenty of sunlight.

Once you have found the perfect spot, you must obtain the necessary permits from your local government. Once you have the permits, you can make your green cemetery a reality.

Are Green Funerals Expensive?

The loss of a loved one is never easy. In addition to the emotional toll, funerals can also be costly. Traditional funerals often involve costly services and amenities like embalming and funeral cars, however, an increasing number of people are choosing green funerals, which can be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

There are several alternatives from which one can choose. Even now, some people are asking about the cocoon tree pod burial cost. There are various ways to reduce the cost of a green funeral, such as using recycled materials or opting for cremation instead of a traditional burial.

Green funerals can also be less resource-intensive, saving money in the long run. Ultimately, the cost of a green funeral will depend on the specific choices made by the family.

Green Funeral: What Are the Natural Burial Laws?

Natural burials are designed to minimize the impact on the environment.6 This means avoiding toxic chemicals, coffin vaults, and concrete grave liners. Instead, natural burials typically use biodegradable materials such as bamboo or wool coffins.

In addition, graves are often shallow and unmarked, making them easier to return to nature. Natural burials are not currently regulated by federal law. However, some states have enacted laws governing natural burials, and more are likely to follow suit in the future.

Can People Opt for a Burial Without a Casket?

For many people, the idea of being laid to rest in a casket is an essential part of the funeral process. It provides a sense of closure and finality and allows loved ones to say a final goodbye.

However, not everyone feels the same way about caskets. For some, the thought of being confined in a box is unappealing, and they would prefer to be laid to rest in a more natural setting.

The good news is that there are options available for people who want to be buried without a casket. In many cases, opting for a simple shroud or an eco-friendly burial pod is possible. This gives people the freedom to choose how they want to be laid to rest without worrying about the cost of a traditional casket by opting to have a green funeral.

However, careful planning makes it possible to have a beautiful and meaningful green funeral without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions About Green Funeral

How Much Does a Natural Burial Cost?

The cost of a natural burial can vary depending on the cemetery, type of container, and other factors, however, it is generally cheaper than a traditional burial. Natural burials do not require a vault or liner, and the grave does not need to be as deep and as a result, they can cost between $500 and $2,000.

Do Natural Burials Involve Cremation?

The answer is yes; natural burial can involve cremation. The key difference is that in a natural burial, the cremated remains are buried in the ground rather than scattered and this helps to speed up the decomposition process and return nutrients to the earth which is, for many people, more environmentally friendly and emotionally satisfying than a traditional burial.


1City of Waukesha. (2022). Green / Natural Burials. City of Waukesha. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from <https://www.waukesha-wi.gov/government/departments/green-natural.php>

2State of Vermont. (2016). The Science Behind Green and Conventional Burial in Lay Terms. Vermont. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from <https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2018/WorkGroups/House%20General/Bills/H.3/Copies%20of%20Testimony/H.3~Lee%20Webster~The%20Science%20Behind%20Green%20Burial~2-7-2017.pdf>

3U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, April 7). Beyond the Corporatization of Death Systems: Towards Green Death Practices. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9403370/>

4Pew Charitable Trusts. (2021, March 8). Human Composting Gains Ground. PEW. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from <https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/03/08/human-composting-gains-ground>

5The City of Burlington. (2022). Three and a Half Feet Under: Cemeteries Are Wary of Green Burials. Burlington Vermont. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from <https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/agendas/SupportingDocuments/SevenDaysArticleOnGreenBurials.pdf>

6The City of Burlington. (2022). The Meadow Natural Burial Ground at Greenacres Memorial Park. Burlington Vermont. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from <https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/agendas/SupportingDocuments/GreenBurialProtocols_TheMeadows.pdf>

7The Good Funeral Guide. Unsplash. Retrieved from <https://unsplash.com/s/photos/Capsula-Mundi-Urns>

8Jan Huber. Unsplash. Retrieved from <https://unsplash.com/photos/green-grass-field-with-trees-during-daytime-1YTN2LceZkY>

9baumannideen. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/tr/photos/ta%c5%9f-mezar-slop-ta%c5%9flar%c4%b1-kazmak-1271075/>