Located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Eugene, Sunset Hills Cemetery is one of the few providers of natural burial in the area.  Viewed by many as an attractive alternative to traditional burial or cremation, natural burial is both elegant in its simplicity and sustainable for the planet.

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How it works

Essentially, Natural burial is a burial in the earth that does not utilize a cement outer burial container, often referred to as a grave box or vault.  Outer burial containers are required in most cemeteries to keep the grave from settling in the future, thus reducing future maintenance issues and expense. 

With natural burial, the remains are buried directly without an outer burial container and, if desired, without a casket as well. An unfinished softwood, sea grass or other casket of similar construction is often used for burial, though in lieu of a casket, a simple cotton shroud can also be utilized.

In most cases, the remains are not embalmed, and refrigeration is used between the time of death and the burial.  A simple flat granite stone often marks the grave, though marking the grave is not a requirement.

Natural burial is considered an ecologically beneficial form of disposition since it has a very low carbon footprint.  Eliminating the cement burial container, metal or hardwood casket and the fuel used to transport them goes a long way toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In comparison to cremation, natural burial utilizes significantly less fossil fuel and reduces carbon emissions. In fact, natural burial actually acts as a "carbon sink,” meaning that the remains of the deceased and the carbon within them can be sequestered or stored in the earth for a prolonged period of time.  Simultaneously, the process does away with the use of carbon-intensive items such as the cement outer burial container and metal casket.

At Sunset Hills, our natural burial garden is beautifully situated overlooking the cemetery in the south hills.  With Oregon white oak and pine trees interspersed, Sunset Hills has much to offer those interested in natural burial.

If you would like find out more about Natural Burial, please give us a call and our caring and professional staff can provide you with the information you need.