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Green Burial


A green burial, in the context of VA benefits, refers to an environmentally-friendly interment option for veterans and their eligible dependents. This method avoids the use of embalming fluids, traditional caskets, and burial vaults, and instead utilizes biodegradable materials and natural processes for decomposition. The goal is to minimize the ecological impact of the burial while respecting and honoring the deceased’s service to the country.

Key Takeaways

  1. Green burial is an eco-friendly alternative that reduces the environmental impact of traditional burial methods by using biodegradable materials and avoiding toxic chemicals.
  2. VA benefits cover green burial options in a VA national cemetery for eligible veterans, including gravesite, grave liner, headstone, and perpetual care, at no cost to their family.
  3. Veterans choosing a green burial at a private cemetery may be eligible for a VA burial allowance to help cover the cost of the burial and funeral expenses for the veteran.


The term “Green Burial” in the context of VA (Veterans Affairs) benefits is important because it signifies an environmentally friendly and sustainable burial option for veterans.

Green burial practices utilize biodegradable materials, avoid toxic chemicals from embalming, and promote natural decomposition, thus reducing the overall environmental impact of traditional burial methods.

As an increasing number of individuals become environmentally conscious, providing support and assistance for green burials within VA benefits ensures that veterans and their families have access to alternative end-of-life options that align with their values and preferences while still honoring their service to the nation.


The purpose of a green burial as part of the VA benefits is to honor the deceased veterans and their eligible family members by providing an environmentally sustainable and natural resting place, which aligns with their personal beliefs and values. Green burials not only respect the environmental concerns of the individuals, but also ensure that the burial process leaves a minimal ecological footprint.

As a result, it allows the veteran’s family to find solace and peace in the thought that their loved one’s final resting place is contributing to the preservation of the environment for future generations. Green burials are used to facilitate an eco-friendly interment process in designated sites within VA national cemeteries.

Instead of using traditional methods involving embalming fluids, metal caskets, or concrete burial vaults, a green burial employs biodegradable material, such as a shroud or a simple wooden casket without any synthetic or toxic elements. Moreover, no invasive procedures are performed on the body to slow down the decomposition process.

Instead, natural processes are embraced to allow the body to return to its organic state, thus promoting the growth of surrounding vegetation. Green burials not only provide a serene, natural environment for both the deceased and their loved ones, but also serve as a lasting legacy to the commitment and dedication of veterans who wished to preserve and protect our planet.

Examples of Green Burial

A green burial, also known as a natural burial, is an environmentally friendly burial method that avoids the use of non-biodegradable materials, chemicals, and excessive resources. In the context of VA benefits, eligible veterans and their families may opt for green burials if desired. Here are three real-world examples of green burials for veterans:

Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego, CA: Located in San Diego, California, Miramar National Cemetery allows green burials for veterans and their families. The cemetery administers green burials by using biodegradable burial containers, avoiding embalming fluids, and omitting concrete vaults or grave liners. These measures help protect the environment and provide sustainable burial options for veterans.

Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, MI: Fort Custer National Cemetery is another VA cemetery that supports green burials for veterans. The cemetery utilizes biodegradable burial materials and shuns the use of harmful chemicals. Additionally, they maintain native ecosystems and preserve the natural landscape to reduce environmental impact.

Sarasota National Cemetery, Sarasota, FL: Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida offers green burial options to veterans and their families. By implementing environmentally friendly practices such as utilizing biodegradable caskets or burial shrouds, avoiding non-essential landscaping, and banning toxic embalming fluids, the cemetery contributes to the preservation of the environment while ensuring a dignified and honorable resting place for veterans.

FAQ: Green Burial VA Benefits

What is a green burial?

A green burial, also known as a natural burial, is an eco-friendly burial option that aims to minimize the environmental impact of traditional burial practices. Green burials involve the use of biodegradable materials, such as caskets and shrouds, and avoid chemicals like embalming fluids. They allow the body to decompose naturally and return to the earth.

Are green burials provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)?

Yes, the VA supports green burials for eligible veterans. Green burials are offered at a few select VA national cemeteries, where a natural burial area is designated for unembalmed remains. The VA provides the necessary resources for conducting a green burial for veterans who choose this option.

What benefits does the VA offer for a green burial?

The VA offers several benefits for eligible veterans opting for a green burial, including a gravesite in any VA national cemetery, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Green burial benefits are similar to those provided for traditional burials.

Are there any specific requirements to have a green burial at a VA cemetery?

Yes, there are specific requirements for conducting a green burial at a VA cemetery. The remains must be unembalmed, and only biodegradable caskets or burial shrouds can be used. The individual cemetery may have additional regulations regarding the natural burial sections, so it is essential to consult with the cemetery staff for further details and requirements.

How do I arrange for a green burial for a veteran at a VA national cemetery?

To arrange a green burial for a veteran at a VA national cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office by phone at 1-800-535-1117. You will need to provide the veteran’s information, including military discharge documents, and specify the preference for a green burial. The cemetery staff will guide you through the process and help ensure all necessary steps are taken to honor the veteran with an eco-friendly burial.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Eco-friendly Burial
  • Biodegradable Casket
  • Natural Burial Site
  • Conservation Burial Ground
  • Green Funeral

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – The federal department responsible for providing benefits and services to veterans, including green burial options.
  • National Cemetery Administration – The National Cemetery Administration, a part of the VA, oversees cemeteries, burial options, and other burial-related information for veterans.
  • Green Burial Council – A leading organization advocating for environmentally sustainable death care and promoting green burial practices, including those available for veterans.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) – A prominent veterans service organization providing up-to-date information on a vast array of veterans benefits, including green burial options.