The city of Lebanon’s Board of Cemetery Trustees is proposing new rules on so-called "green burials." Under these rules, families can use biodegradable caskets. The proposal also suggests avoiding embalming fluids.
One of the board’s members, Caitlyn Hauke, says giving back to the environment is a final calling for many residents.
“Put me in the ground the way I was intended to be without all this extra materials, chemicals and pollutants,” Hauke said. “Just be as natural as possible and have as little negative environmental impact as my last act here on earth.”
Advocates also say interest is growing for sustainable burials.
“People are really hungry for this," said Lee Webster, education vice chair and former president of the, Green Burial Council International.
"They recognize that the way we've been doing things for the last hundred or so years is not really meeting their standards now for the environment for their family life and honoring their own sense of what is right."
Because of COVID, she says facilitators are also taking extra safety precautions, including covering the mouth of a corpse to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
The town of Grafton is drafting similar regulations. According to Lebanon's proposal, all green burials must be conducted and overseen by a licensed funeral director.