What is a NATURAL or GREEN burial?

The Natural Burial Association of Canada defines a natural burial as “is the act of returning a body as naturally as possible to the earth”. In order for a burial to be a natural or green burial, the body would not be embalmed, and would be in a biodegradable container. A rigid burial container would be made of plain, unvarnished wood, or bamboo or wicker, with no glue or metal used in the construction. If lined, it would be lined with natural fabric like cotton or linen. The body can also be wrapped in a shroud made of natural fibres – cotton, linen, hemp or silk. Cardboard burial containers are also available through many funeral homes and cremation services.*

Links to the natural burial grounds are included on the Resource Page.

Natural or green burial is legal in all provinces in Canada. It is not a legal requirement for a dead body to be embalmed. There 3 natural burial grounds in Ontario – Union Cemetery in Cobourg, Meadowvale Cemetery in Mississauga, and Duffin Meadows Cemetery in Pickering. All three of these natural burial grounds require that the body not be embalmed, and be in a natural, biodegradable container, including a shroud, however at both Meadowvale and Duffin Meadows, a shrouded body needs to be placed on a rigid board – a simple piece of plywood would suffice.

*It should be noted that some containers – wicker or cardboard – would not be suitable for persons of above average weight. When researching green burial containers, it is important to ask if there are weight constrictions.*