Green burials not common in county yet


According to a study by Lawn Love, a lawn care service provider based in San Diego, California, Ohio placed third in a ranking of 2023’s best states for green burials.

A green burial is a simple, more environmentally friendly form of burial that does not involve chemicals or concrete. A green burial generally means the body isn’t cremated or embalmed and biodegradable caskets, shrouds and urns are used. The body also isn’t interred in a concrete vault, and the burial may support land conservation and sustainable practices.

California ranked first in the study and North Carolina ranked second. Along with Ohio, these states offer plenty of green burial providers and locations. According to the study, the three top states have high demand in natural burials, despite low financial advantage compared with other states where traditional burial and cremation are more expensive.

Ohio claims the most conservation burial grounds of any state — a practice that turns what would be a natural cemetery into a protected wildlife conservation area.

The study compared the 50 states based on four categories. In the first category, the number of Green Burial Council-certified funeral homes, Ohio ranked second. In the second category, the number of conservation burial grounds, Ohio ranked first. In the third category, the average cost of traditional burial as a percentage of average household income, Ohio ranked 26th. In the fourth category, average monthly Google searches for green burial-related keywords over the past year, Ohio ranked eighth.

Funeral homes in Highland County do not appear to have seen a significant move from traditional funerals to green funerals.

Steve Thompson, the owner of Thompson Funeral Home & Cremation Care in Hillsboro, said his funeral home has performed two green burials. “The problem here is that so many of the cemeteries have requirements with vaults, and of course with green burials they want everything to go back to the earth,” said Thompson. “I’ve had one inquiry about it in probably the last year, so I don’t see a trend.”

Green burials can cost less, but Thompson said they are not necessarily cheaper. “If you still go ahead and have the viewing and a service, there’s not really that much cost variance,” he said.

Bruce Lieurance, a funeral director at Turner & Son Funeral Homes & Crematory in Hillsboro, said the funeral home has not received any requests for green funerals so far. “We’re not involved with any of those yet, not that we aren’t open to it at some point,” he said. “It’s kind of like cremation — years ago, it all started out on the west coast mostly, and then the wave hit us, and now cremation is a big part of what we do.”

Brittany Waits, a funeral director for the Rhoads-Edington Funeral Home in Hillsboro, said, “The thing around here is finding a cemetery that offers it.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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