Green Burials and Cremations

At Hitzeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, our goal is to honor and respect the wishes of the families that we serve. We understand that green burials and services are on the rise, and we stay current with all options to ensure we can honor your requests. Green burials place an emphasis on environmental sustainability. Individuals who choose green burial often view it as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and their environmental impact or as a way for individuals to naturally return to the Earth and soil. Decedents are not embalmed or topically treated in green burials. Instead they are wrapped from head to toe in a simple cotton or wool shroud. They are then placed on a solid board or natural carrier or placed in a non-toxic, 100% biodegradable, plant-derived casket. These caskets and coffins are often made from sustainable materials such as willow, seagrass or bamboo.

The cemetery requirements differ between that of a traditional burial and a green burial. A traditional burial entails a wood or metal casket being placed in an outer burial container. Outer burial containers are made from a number of materials including concrete, stainless steel and high-impact plastic. A marker, monument or headstone is placed on top of the grave. In cemeteries which offer green burials, there is no use of outer burial containers or vaults and products containing plastics, acrylics or other synthetic materials are not allowed. Grave markers are to appear more natural and simple. You can learn more about the rules and regulations pertaining to green burials at Lithuanian National Cemetery here. This green cemetery is the closest in proximity to Hitzeman Funeral Home, Ltd. There are only a few other cemeteries in Illinois that have areas designated for green or natural burials that will allow this to be completed.

A second option for a green disposition is alkaline hydrolysis, otherwise known as Flameless Cremation. Flameless Cremation is a process that uses water instead of fire to accelerate the natural breakdown of the deceased. This process uses 85% less energy than a traditional cremation and involves no burning of caskets or fossil fuels. Cremated remains may then be placed in an urn of your choice for burial, scattering or safe keeping.

It’s critical to plan ahead if you or a loved one wishes to have a green burial. We highly recommend pre-arranging your green burial or cremation to ensure all details are correct and reflect your wishes. Pre-arranging these services gives peace of mind not only to yourself, but also to your loved ones that all details have been accounted for. It’s important to understand all the rules and regulations specific cemeteries may have in regards to acceptable merchandise and materials. Green burial merchandise is often certified by the Green Burial Council or certified Fair Trade. This means that materials used must be harvested in a manner that does not unnecessarily destroy the habitat and usually do not require heavy machinery for harvesting. Depending on the material, caskets and coffins which are acceptable for green burial are often handcrafted by skilled weavers as a small cottage industry rather than in factories. It is important to understand that a green burial does not always equate to less expensive merchandise as there is much skill, labor and precision that goes into crafting these products and services. We at Hitzeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services strive to guide you through the process and explain the details that go into planning a green burial. Please contact us at (708) 485-2000 or info@HitzemanFuneral.com to schedule an appointment to discuss your wishes.

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