Are 'green burials' the ultimate form of recycling?

Are "Green Burials" the ultimate form of recycling?

Richard Beeson made it a priority every day to visit his wife's grave. He's kept true to that, in some cases going twice a day.

"I can't put it off," he said.

It's a 45 minute drive that he takes with his caretaker to the Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park in Austin. He comes with two heavy buckets of water for the vegetation around her natural grave.

"This is the way mankind has been burying the dead for tens of thousands of years until 150 years ago," said Ellen Macdonald, the owner of the burial park. 

For a 75-year-old, getting the exercise through the park was good for his health but this was better for his heart. He and his wife Anna had been married 49 years. She died of cancer. At first Beeson wasn't warm to the idea of a natural burial.

At the "Woods" you won't find headstones or ornate caskets. In some cases the deceased are buried in a shroud or a simple casket and put into the ground.

Eloise Woods Natural Burial Park is a 10- acre park where grave sites are everywhere and nowhere by design. You'd have to look really closely to see that someone was buried there.

"We're very democratic in death. Every one has the same sort of simple grave stone," said Macdonald.

Plots where adults, children, pets, even Jewish books are buried are supposed to blend into the natural setting. There are now close to 100 places like this in the country. Families see it as less invasive, less expensive, and more environmentally-friendly. The cost difference between a traditional burial and a green burial is in some cases quadruple.

"I didn't know how much she meant to me until she passed away," Beeson said.

There are only a handful of green burial places in Texas. Beeson will return again the next day with two buckets of water. Because any time he wants to talk with Anna, he knows where to go.

"She's over there, through the woods," said Beeson.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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