It’s called green burial, and it’s a relatively new alternative to the traditional options of being buried in a casket or vault with a headstone, or being cremated. The goal of green burial is to make sure that the burial site stays as natural as possible and that the body is allowed to recycle as naturally and efficiently as possible. This includes planting native trees or shrubs around the grave instead of erecting a headstone or other man-made monument. It also includes using a biodegradable casket or a burial shroud instead of the traditional concrete vault. Not all cemeteries allow green burial methods, so a number of green – or natural – cemeteries have been established to accommodate those who want to be buried without being embalmed and without the traditional casket and monument. The first modern green cemetery was established in South Carolina in 1998. Since then, green cemeteries have been added from coast to coast. Supporters of green burial point out not only the environmental benefits to this method of making your final arrangements, but also its cost-effectiveness. Without the need for embalming, pricey coffins and expensive headstones, the expense of a funeral and burial can be reduced by thousands of dollars. If you’re considering a green burial, you may want to discuss your plans with friends and family members. A green burial has to occur quickly after death, and generally does not allow for the traditional viewing or visitation. It’s a good idea to let your loved ones know what to expect – especially if they’re not familiar with the philosophy behind your choice.