In Massachusetts, cemeteries must be organized as not for profit cemetery corporations. Cemeteries are operated by a municipality, a religious organization or as a private, non-profit organization or association. Here is a list of Massachusetts city/town cemeteries and private cemeteries in which one can have a green burial:
- Marion (cremated remains only)
- Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge)
- South Wellfleet
- Wildwood (Amherst)
- Williamsburg (Village Hill)
*Please note that many city/town cemeteries require city/town residency in order to be buried there. This list is not comprehensive but is what we have been able to compile.
If you know of other cemeteries in Massachusetts that allow green burial but that are not listed here, please contact us so that we can add them to our list.
Green burial is allowed under Massachusetts state law. Cemeteries develop their own rules and regulations about the type of burial that is allowable in their cemetery. If you are interested in a green burial, talk with the cemetery administrator about this option. And you can opt for a “greener” burial, even if your cemetery requires a vault:
- skip the embalming;
- choose a coffin made of local softwood (pine is good) or another biodegradable container;
- ask to omit the lid and invert the vault, so the body and its container can rest directly on the earth.
If your chosen cemetery is privately owned, speak to someone on its board of directors about your preferences.
If it’s a municipal cemetery, speak to your local Cemetery Commission about permitting green burial. Better still, volunteer to serve on it.
We do not yet have a dedicated green cemetery in Massachusetts. New York has one (Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, near Ithaca; (607) 564-7577), and Maine has two (Cedar Brook Burial Ground, near Portland; (207) 637-2085; and Rainbow’s End Natural Cemetery, south of Bangor; contact Joan Howard@att.net.