Eco-friendly burial is achievable with biodegradable urns, allowing families to repurpose a loved one’s ashes in a meaningful tribute. Throughout North America, people are embracing sustainable, environmentally friendly ways to approach end-of-life burial decisions.
Now that it’s possible to purchase beautiful cremation urns for ashes that are biodegradable, families can finally have a fitting way to honor their loved one’s memory without worrying about their carbon footprint.
Set of Handmade urns for ashes "The Passage" - ceramic
Similar to scattering ashes, determining the local legality of burying biodegradable urns is essential. State laws about planting biodegradable urns may vary throughout the U.S. This article provides an overview of American laws concerning biodegradable urns, but local authorization and guidance should always be sought prior to finalizing burial plans. As planting biodegradable urns becomes more popular in the United States, laws continue to develop, and confirming the rules and regulations with local authorities is the best way to stay informed.
The Benefit of Burying Biodegradable Urns over Scattering Ashes
Green burials – or those that reduce impact on the environment by using sustainable materials – are gaining popularity in the United States. Symbolizing the circle of life, returning the body to the land in a natural way can bring peace and closure. After choosing cremation, those who aren’t interested in keeping urns at home often decide to scatter the ashes outdoors to symbolize that reconnection with nature.
Handmade urn for ashes "Wings" - ceramic
The problem with scattering ashes is that – though it’s a beautiful gesture – it can be difficult for families to return to the physical location where ashes were scattered and feel the same connection with their deceased loved one. It’s human nature to want to see, feel, and experience the presence of those who have passed.
Biodegradable urns are a great solution for this disconnection. Instead of scattering the ashes, which end up blowing away and disappearing, cremated remains can be placed in an eco-friendly, biodegradable urn that is then planted in a specific location. The site can be marked with a living tree or plant seeds. Seeing and experiencing the cremated ashes grow into a new living thing provides a powerful experience for surviving family members, and it often makes it easier to feel a connection with those who have passed away.
Laws in the United States about Planting Biodegradable Urns
So, where can you plant a biodegradable urn in the U.S.? This can be a tricky question to answer in entirety, because not all places have distinct laws yet about biodegradable urn burials. In some places, the laws about scattering ashes serve as the sole guidance to interpret the legality of planting biodegradable urns. Furthermore, the laws may differ slightly from state to state, city to city, and county to county.
Set of Handmade urns for ashes "The Passage" - ceramic
With that said, families do have lots of options for planting biodegradable urns in the United States. Here are a few of the guidelines to consider when learning where, how, and when to plant a biodegradable urn in the U.S.
Private Land in the U.S.
This remains one of the safest, most secure options for families who want to honor their loved one by planting cremated remains in a biodegradable urn. So long as permission is granted by the property owner, it is legal to plant a biodegradable urn on private land.
This is perfect for families who want to keep their loved one close by. Glancing out into the backyard and seeing the tree from a biodegradable urn grow taller year after year can provide unique long-term solace.
Public Land in the U.S.
Here’s where things get tricky. Though public places – especially those in nature, like woodlands and forests – seem like a perfect place to plant the ashes in a biodegradable urn along with a living tree or flower seeds, the laws are not quite explicit about this. What may be viewed as acceptable in one state may not be legal in another. Plus, with many different governing bodies that oversee public land, there may be unique guidelines and restrictions for planting biodegradable urns.
Always check with the local authorities and secure written approval before carrying out any plans to bury a biodegradable urn on public land – even for land that seems to be in the middle of the wilderness. In addition, keep in mind that plans for public land use may change in the future, which can dramatically alter the terrain where you plant ashes in a biodegradable urn.
If you can’t find a feasible option for planting your loved one’s ashes with a biodegradable urn on private or public land, don’t give up hope! There are two other creative options to consider, both of which can be beautiful and fitting arrangements for memorializing your loved one with a sustainable burial.
Green Cemeteries in the U.S.
Some cemeteries are more adapted for eco-friendly burials than others. The Green Burial Council is a fantastic resource for finding cemeteries and burial places that can accommodate biodegradable urns. These cemeteries tend to be quite beautiful and maintain a natural setting that can be visited again and again to feel the ongoing connection with loved ones who have passed.
Biodegradable Urns for Planters or Containers
Another option is to plant the biodegradable urn in a secure container that is large enough to hold a small plant or dwarf-sized tree. There are no laws at this time that restrict biodegradable urns in planters that are kept in the possession of those who planted them. The benefit of planting a biodegradable urn in a container is that you can keep it with you, even if you move homes.
Biodegradable urns are a wonderful way to facilitate a sustainable burial process – all while witnessing your loved one’s ashes return to the earth and support the growth of a living plant. It’s a beautiful experience, and one that more and more Americans are considering when making final resting plans.
Because the laws are continuously adapting to fit this growing interest, it is strongly recommended to check with your local authorities (both state and county) to get the most up-to-date rules for burying biodegradable urns.