Green burial in the United States
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Woodland burial is taking off in crowded Britain but remains a minority pastime in the spacious US.   Over half of Americans get buried rather than cremated but nearly all of them end up in a steel or hardwood coffin in a traditional cemetery.  

Most compound the environmental damage by being embalmed first, a fantastically wasteful and and unnecessary practice, which involves squirting the body full of three gallons of toxic formaldehyde and mercuric chloride, and delays decomposition by a week or so.  It gained popularity when Abraham Lincoln and Rudolf Valentino were embalmed, prior to their funeral trains crossing the country, to allow everyone to see the open coffin.  It is completely unnecessary for a normal viewing.  

When your funeral director asks if you want granny embalmed, I and the earth, beg you, politely decline. 

But things are changing.  A small number of funeral directors are now offering green burials along lines that have long been popular in the UK.

So far there seem to be only four sites in the whole US but I’m sure I’ve missed some.  I will add new ones as people tell me about them.  Here is the list.  


Fernwood Cemetery, 301 Tennessee Valley Road in Mill Valley. Click here.  Tel  415.383.7100

Forest Lawn's Hollywood Hills branch has a cremation garden called "Woodlands"  I have no more details.


I'm not sure if the Historic Congressional Cemetery offers green burial.  I can't find any details except that their address appears on some green burial links pages.   Linda Harper, Association for the Preservation for Historic Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street, Southeast Washington, D.C. 20003 Tel:(202) 543-0539 Fax: (202) 543-5966 E-mail:


America’s second “green cemetery”, Glendale Nature Preserve.  Click here 

Burial at sea click here


A fellow called Kevin Kruegerat had a plan to establish a green burial site at Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard a couple of years ago. He called it the Circle of Life eco-burial site.  I'm not sure if anything has come of it.  Email him here 

New York State

Irish Hill Road

There is a plan to build New York state's first green cemetery on a 100 acre site that straddles Irish Hill Road next to Cornell University's Arnot Forest.  The cemetery will be run by The Green Springs Natural Cemetery Association. president The association is currently trying to raise $25,000 toward the project and are asking people to buy burial plots. The smallest cost $500.  Contact Mary Woodsen [001] (607) 272 4034, Susan Thomas [001] (607) 936 6613, or Joel Rabinowitz (607) 898 5113 for further details.

South Carolina

America’s first “green cemetery” was established in 1996 at Ramsay Creek.   Click here.  It is run by Memorial Eco-systems click here.  111 West Main Street, Westminster, SC 29693.  Tel (864) 647-7798. Fax: (864) 647-0403  email  The cemetery is located at 396 Cobb Bridge Road, Westminster.   

For those who are interested in such things there seems to be little love lost between the founder of Memorial Eco-systems, Dr Billy Campbell, and the owner and chief executive of Fernwood cemetery, Tyler Cassity.  Campbell is a long-standing advocate of green burial.  At one point he advised Cassity, the owner of Hollywood Memorial Park, one of the most profitable cemeteries in the world, how to set up a green burial service.  All went well to start but they later fell out over the environmental credentials of Fernwood.  The full story is told in The New Yorker of August 29 2005.    



The Ethician Family Cemetery.  Click here

Death Midwife

Jerri Lyons calls herself a death midwife, and helps people arrange home burials through her firm Final Passages. Click here.  P.O. Box 1721, Sebastopol, CA 95473;   Tel  (707) 824-0268;


General US site

Click here for

Email here if you would like your green burial organisation listed on this page.


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Last modified: October 21, 2006