Green Burials

At McGann Hay Funerals, Cremations, and Gatherings we have a respect for nature that is imbued in our business practices. We saved as many trees as we could when building on our properties and used the wood from the others to make shelves and chairs for our facilities, and even helped reinvigorate the bluebird population in Granger by hosting nesting sites at our facility there.

Many of our clients feel the same way about our Earth. Many also find a special beauty in returning to the Earth when our time comes. For these families, we offer "green" burial services. This refers to a set of special Earth-friendly options for preparation and burial. 

Green burials may include any combination of the following earth-friendly alternatives:

  • Forgoing the use of concrete burial vaults 
  • opt for a burial shroud instead of a casket, or a casket made entirely of wood, wicker, or even paper-based materials such as cardboard
  • The use of gentle, biodegradable embalming solutions

The purpose of the use of plant-based materials in caskets, and the use of earth-friendly embalming solution is to minimize the impact of the environment. A plant-based casket or a burial shroud will break down quickly when exposed to the earth’s natural elements and moisture.  

Families who are interested in a green burial but still wish to have a visitation or a funeral service in a place of worship or in the funeral home must be embalmed. For these clients, we offer "ecobalming," which uses specialized natural embalming solutions that are biodegradable and will not harm the surrounding ecosystem.

​A special note regarding concrete burial vaults

Clients interested in a green burial should understand that various elements of green burials are subject to state laws as well as cemetery policies. One example of this is with regard to burial vaults. Contrary to the confusing name, a burial vault does not refer the structure you see above the ground, but to a concrete "box" that surrounds the casket in the ground. It is used in most burials in the United States. Over the course of the natural decomposition process, the ground above settles, and air pockets are created. This can cause the ground above to sink in. While this is a natural -- and, we think, beautiful -- process, it does not look very "nice" to landscapers, and may even pose a safety risk if someone happens to be standing above at the wrong moment. For this reason, many cemeteries require burial vaults in order to prevent the ground above from sinking in. Currently, in Indiana, green burials must take place in a designated cemetery that does not require a burial vault. (Home burials are not permitted in Indiana as a matter of public health and cultural resource management.) A few St. Joseph County, IN cemeteries, including Potato Creek, Mount Pleasant, and Southlawn, have designated certain areas within their cemetery for “green only” burials.

Here at McGann Hay Funerals, Cremations, and Gatherings we will help you have the kind of end of life services that you wish to have. We will assist you in achieving what is best for you and your family and, if that includes a green burial, we will do all that we can to make it happen. Please note that it may take more planning time than a traditional funeral, so we encourage you to contact one of our funeral directors and he or she will be glad to help you with advanced planning of your green burial.

For more information on green burials, we invite you to call us at 574-232-1411 or fill out our online contact form. We respond within 24 hours.

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