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Dying green: environmental friendly burial options

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) – There's going green, eating green, living green and now, dying green? Environmentally friendly burials are a popular trend out West and it's now made its way right here to the Lowcountry. In fact, the only fully green burial council certified funeral home in the state is located right here in Mount Pleasant at J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Chapel.

"It's a growing trend and it's one that is geared toward those that they want something not traditional, with an outer burial container and ground burial, but they want something midway and that's really where green burial falls in," said Managing Director of J. Henry Stuhr in Mount Pleasant, Dr. Keith Riddle.

If a person is considering a green burial, they come into the green room at the funeral home where there is a range of products to choose from that are all 100% biodegradable. A green burial can include caskets made of pine wood, or wicker-- as well as a biodegradable urn, a simple cloth shroud and 100% natural embalming oil.

"Green burial is not going to be for everyone. It's going to be for someone who is very eco-minded," Dr. Riddle said. "It's a little basic. Very basic."

Dr. Riddle said most assume people are choosing the green burial option for financial reasons-- thinking it's less expensive, but that's not the case.

"It costs about the same as cremation, there is not a whole lot of difference in that," Dr.Riddle said.

Instead, Dr. Riddle said people choose the green option more for themselves, and of course, mother nature.

"It is really going to be all about someone who wants to find peace of mind in knowing they have been recycled, for a lack of a better way to put it, back into the earth," Dr. Riddle said. "It's for someone who says ‘I really want my body to go back into the earth' and it's that old saying ‘ashes to ashes dust to dust'."

Dr. Riddle said the biggest hold up to the green burial option in the Lowcountry is that there is not a green burial cemetery in the area yet. The closest one is called the Greenhaven Preserve in Eastover, outside of Columbia.

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