Natural Burial or Cremation for an Environmentally Sound Option?

Planning a funeral, whether our own for the future or for a family member, means there are some big decisions to be made.  Top of the list tends to be whether you want a burial or a cremation.  Increasingly, people are considering the environmental impact of this choice and for a long time, cremation has been pegged as the eco-friendly option.  But is this the full story?  And can natural burial overtake it as the more ‘green’ funeral option?

Pros and cons of cremation

One of the main reasons that people have opted for cremation over burial is due to the ever-pressing demand for space meaning that finding a cemetery can be difficult.  And it is true that a cremation doesn’t require a plot of land in which to place the body after the funeral.  However, if you are looking for an environmentally sound option for a funeral, there are some issues with cremation.

For example, the average cremation uses as much gas and electricity as a 500-mile car trip and releases on average 400 kgs of CO2 per body, according to the Natural Death Centre.  Cremation also boils off heavy metal and toxic compounds such as mercury from dental filling that we accumulate over our lifetime.  The process of cremation releases a number of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, carcinogens such as monoxide and nitrogen oxide and even volatile acids such as hydrogen chloride.

Crematoriums do put measures in place to filter some of the toxins that are released during the process but a study in the US by the CANA has found that the current filtering systems have little effect on a number of toxins being released.  Work is being done to deal with the problem but currently, the situation is a worrying one.

Pros and cons of natural burial

Natural burial is a newer idea that has taken off for people who are interested in the environmentally sound option for their funeral.  Rather than burial in a cemetery, this concept uses a natural area as a burial ground which remains a normal area of land, often a meadow or forest.

Natural burial is seen as a sustainable option because steps are taken to ensure that natural processes take place with the body and its coffin to ensure that it degrades naturally.  This means that eventually, the remains will return to the earth and have no lasting impact on the environment.

There are some restrictions on the burial location, such as its proximity to waterways and regarding the information that needs to be retained to confirm the fact that there has been a burial.  But if you use a site such as Westall Park Natural Burial, then you don’t have to worry about this as it is run by experienced site operators who know the rules.

The environmentally sound option

While being cremated is definitely more eco-friendly than a traditional burial, the chemicals, gases and toxins released during the process are still a worry for many.  That’s why considering a natural burial is a growing option for the environmentally conscious.

…the whole place looks so beautiful! I am just glad we found Westall Park in time. The beauty of the whole place buffers the sadness of the loss…

Testimonial from:

Valeria Perreria

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Tel: 01386 792 806

Westall Park
Holberrow Green
Nr Redditch
B96 6JY


Office open Mon-Fri 9.00 to 13.30 & 14.30 to 17.00. Open for visitor access 7 days a week.


Everyone is welcome to visit Westall Park within opening hours, but if you would like to have a guided tour or to purchase plots then, to make sure we can give you our undivided attention, we recommend that you book an appointment. Our office is manned Monday to Friday 9am to 1.30pm & 2.30pm to 5pm however the site is open for visitor access 7 days a week.