Green burial (also known as a Natural or Woodland Burial) is all about keeping things as simple and natural as possible - returning to nature in a way that will not harm the environment, but will actually preserve the landscape and enhance opportunities for wildlife - it's about leaving the world a better place, and is increasingly becoming the environmentally friendly choice.
The general principals of this kind of burial are that the body is not to be embalmed (as the main chemicals involved in this process can be environmentally hazardous), a biodegradable coffin (cardboard, bamboo, seagrass, willow or sustainable wood) or shroud is used, and that a native tree or shrub is then often (but not always) planted on, or close to, the grave instead of a large stone memorial.
A GPS co-ordinate, scanable micro-chip or even just a small flat engraved stone or wooden plaque may also be used to identify the grave depending on the regualtions of the chosen burial ground. The site is managed to encourage native wildlife, plants and wild flowers.
Grounds can be run by private individuals, companies, councils or charities, and many are members of ANBG (Association of Natural Burial Grounds) which has a strict code of practice. Whichever site you choose, try to always visit it first to make sure it's to your liking, and ask questions such as how long the burial rights last for, and how the site will be protected in the future once it is full. There are over 220 sites now dotted around the UK, all eminating from a single site in Carlisle which opened in 1993. It is estimated that with overcrowding issues in many traditional urban burial grounds, green burials could become very much the norm within a generation or two