Green/Natural Funeral & Burial

Green, or natural burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat. Green burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, such as caskets, shrouds, and urns.

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In September of 2008, the Lawrence City Commission approved to open the 1st Natural Burial Cemetery in the state of Kansas. It is located on the north side of Oak Hill Cemetery. This will be an all natural area. The area will be mowed each December to keep unwanted underbrush.

  1. Bodies must be interred in at least a minimum of a cardboard carrier. Top of carrier may be left off with the immediate families’ approval. Wood carriers may be used but they must be made of natural, biodegradable materials (such as cardboard, hardwood) No particle board made with adhesive will be accepted. A biodegradable 1” x 12” x 6’ flat board will be provided by the City to place under the carrier. Metal, concrete, plastic, other synthetic materials may not be used for interment. Incidental metals are allowed as needed. Cremains may be interred directly.
  2. Deceased bodies that are embalmed or otherwise chemically preserved may not be interred in this area.
  3. Concrete or steel vaults will not be permitted.
  4. No cut, machined, or polished markers or monuments of any kind are permitted. You may have engraved natural, flat rocks, or boulders.
  5. Native plants, flowers, grasses and Redbud, Service Berry trees are the only decorations/plantings permitted. No artificial flowers, wreaths, tree chimes and/or any other decorations will be allowed.
  6. No Shepard hooks, or ceramic, glass and/or other type of figurine will be permitted.
  7. Graves may take several years to settle back to the original ground level. Parks and Recreation staff will adjust the ground around uneven graves periodically throughout the year.
  8. All work done in the Natural Burial Cemetery will be done by Parks and Recreation staff only. No planting will be done until approved by the Parks and Recreation Horticulture Division.
  9. All graves will be dug by machine at a depth no less than 5 feet.
  10. The funeral home contracted by the family will provide a lowering device and tent. If the family does not want the use of a lowering device, city staff will be provided to lower the deceased into the ground. If so requested, the city will provide a wheeled carrier to place the casket on from the road to the grave site. Due to liability, all families requesting to assist in the lowering of the deceased, will be staged by city staff. If no lowering device is used, the City will provide a bio-degradable 1” x 12” x 6’ flat board and ropes necessary to safely lower the deceased into the ground.
  11. Funeral attendees will be required to hand shovel the first 1/3 of the grave, then modern machinery will complete the process of burial if necessary. Shovels will be provided by city staff.

This info is available at: (Pg. 7 & 8)