CEMETERIES in Lilydale and Healesville are leading the way when it comes to natural and sustainable burials.
The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust controls 18 cemeteries in Victoria, and the two in the Yarra Ranges are currently the only locations offering natural burials.
Trust spokesman Scott Samson said a natural burial meant there were no headstones, monuments or plaques.
"We encourage that the casket is made from sustainably harvested wood or similar products that are currently available and we allow that the body is prepared without chemical preservatives and be buried in a simple shroud," Mr Samson said.
"The body is then buried in an environmentally sensitive area in a native parkland setting among native vegetation. It fits in with the particular botanic arrangements of these places. The grounds put aside a certain section of the cemetery and keep the natural fauna of the area."
However, the burials — which have been on offer for a few years — have not yet been very popular, something Mr Samson believes is partly due to a lack of awareness that they are available and what they entail.
"But also I think people want to know there is something they can be remembered by. People want to be able to come and visit," he said.
Instead of a monument, a name is placed on a plaque on a boulder that sits in the corner of the natural burial area.
The trust is also looking into 'green' burials and sustainable burials . "It is a completely new process. The idea of a burial in which we might provide something more sustainable would be to go to a depth of burial that is optimum for the body to decompose at a faster and more natural rate. We don't offer that yet.''
Lilydale Memorial Park currently has 15 hectares of undeveloped land, expected to last more than 30 years, but Healesville Cemetery has just half a hectare of land left for burials.
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