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Five Myths About Green Burials in the UK

Posted by Tracey Gelder on
Five Myths About Green Burials in the UK

It’s often said that the UK is a very conservative country that takes its traditions extremely seriously. For many people, that includes the ceremonies surrounding death and funerals.

Green or natural burials offer an alternative solution, but in the process can challenge many of those cherished traditions and make some people uncomfortable.

As a result, a number of myths about green burials have built up that might lead some to think that they are not an affordable, desirable or even legal option.

This month, we’re looking at five of those myths and explaining why a green burial can offer all that a traditional one can and a whole lot more.

Myth 1: Natural burial sites can be easily disturbed by animals

If a body has been buried ‘six feet under’ in a solid wooden coffin, people think that it is better able to lie undisturbed. However, six foot graves are generally only dug when a second body is likely to be placed in them. For a single body, digging only four feet down – as we do at our sites – is far more commonplace with all types of burials.

In fact, even burying someone just two feet below the ground and properly covering the remains with soil and mulch means animals won’t be able to smell them and won’t be tempted to dig and investigate. 

So you can rest assured that if someone is laid to rest at our natural burial site, they’ll be just as safe and secure as they would be in a traditional graveyard.

Myth 2: Human remains can contaminate local water

There are many reasons why a green burial is better for the environment, chief among them being that you’re only adding biodegradable elements to it rather than toxic chemicals that will linger in the soil for hundreds or thousands of years. 

It’s this concern about potential contamination that leads many to believe that it might even be illegal to bury a body that isn’t in a coffin. Understandably, rules surrounding such matters are extremely tight, and we can assure you that natural burials like those carried out at Tithe Green are fully compliant with all existing laws surrounding the disposal of bodies. They’re also not only 100% safe for the environment but are actually extremely beneficial to it.

Myth 3: A natural burial is more expensive than a traditional one

When we think of eco-friendly products and services that help counter the effects of climate change, protect wildlife habitats and meet stricter environmental standards, we tend to assume that we’ll have to pay extra for the privilege. That may be the case with organic produce and electric cars, but not natural burials.

The actual core costs of a green burial are likely to be at worst similar to those of a traditional one, but probably even less. In both cases, where costs really tend to pile up is in the extras that we choose – the limousines, flowers and wake, for example.

Here at Tithe Green, we always believe in keeping our services as affordable as possible and we make the cost of a burial or ashes interment at one of our sites clear from the outset.

Myth 4: A green burial is less respectful to the deceased

For some, having a big funeral with an expensive coffin made out of the finest wood, huge bouquets of flowers and everyone dressed in mourning is the best – possibly the only – way to show proper respect to a recently departed friend or family member. Yet when you ask a lot of people about what they’d like for their own funeral when the time comes, they respond by indicating that they wouldn’t want a fuss, for everyone to be sad or even for money to be wasted unnecessarily.

For those with a concern for the environment, the best way to show true respect is often to give them a funeral that best reflects their beliefs and concerns.

As an affordable, life-affirming and eco-friendly alternative to a traditional funeral, there’s surely no better way to show respect for someone’s life and personality.

Myth 5: Natural burial is only for atheists

Natural burial is for atheists – but it’s also for Christians, Jews, Muslims and all other religions. For those who have a religious belief – any religious belief – you can always introduce a service that reflects this when you have a ceremony at Tithe Green.

Ours may not be consecrated ground, but it offers far more benefit to the planet than just about any traditional graveyard or cemetery. We’re proud of the fact that we offer an inclusive service that encompasses all beliefs and religions.


If you have any questions about whether a natural burial might be the right solution for you or a recently departed friend or family member, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to take the time to talk through what is involved. 

With over 30 years of experience providing natural burials for customers in and around Nottingham, Leicester and Peterborough, we can help you work through your options and settle any doubts you might have.

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