Natural burials have become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years as more people seek environmentally friendly options for end-of-life arrangements. Natural burials involve laying the deceased to rest in a manner that is more in tune with nature and doesn’t involve the use of traditional embalming chemicals, concrete grave liners or metal caskets.
The basic idea of a natural burial is to allow the body to decompose naturally and return to the earth in a way that nourishes the soil and supports new growth. This is achieved by burying the body in a biodegradable shroud or coffin made from materials like wicker, bamboo, or unvarnished wood. The graves are often marked with simple wooden plaques or even GPS coordinates to allow loved ones to find the burial site in the future.
One of the key benefits of natural burials is that they have a much lower environmental impact than traditional burials. Traditional burials involve the use of embalming fluids that can contain formaldehyde, a toxic chemical that can be harmful to both the environment and the people who handle the body. In addition, traditional burials also involve the use of non-biodegradable caskets and grave liners, which can take decades or even centuries to decompose.
Natural burials, on the other hand, do not require embalming fluids, and the biodegradable shrouds or coffins used in natural burials break down much faster, returning the nutrients in the body to the earth more quickly. Natural burial grounds are also typically designed to support local wildlife, such as birds and butterflies, creating a more vibrant and diverse ecosystem.
There are now over 270 natural burial grounds in the UK, each with their own unique character and offerings. Some natural burial grounds offer designated areas for people of specific faiths, while others allow people to plant trees or wildflowers on or near the gravesite. Many natural burial grounds also offer the option to scatter ashes or have a memorial service on the site.
While natural burials are becoming increasingly popular, it’s worth noting that they may not be suitable for everyone. For example, some religious traditions may require specific burial practices, and some people may have personal or cultural preferences that conflict with the idea of a natural burial. However, for those who are interested in reducing their environmental impact and returning to the earth in a more natural way, natural burials offer a beautiful and meaningful option.
In conclusion, natural burials are a growing trend in the UK, and for good reason. They offer an environmentally friendly and meaningful way to say goodbye to loved ones while also nourishing the earth and supporting local wildlife. With over 270 natural burial grounds to choose from, there’s sure to be an option that meets the needs and preferences of anyone who is interested in this alternative form of burial.