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Providence cemetery now offering eco-friendly burials

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Swan Point Cemetery, a final resting place well known in Rhode Island for centuries, is trying something new by allowing eco-friendly burials, according to the cemetery’s President Anthony Hollingshead.

Hollingshead said the burial plots are located in a new section of the cemetery called “The Ellipse.”

“One of the reasons that we decided to embark on this development is because we have gotten so much demand from our community,” Hollingshead explained.

Swan Point Cemetery is the first in Rhode Island to be certified by the nationwide Green Burial Council. This type of burial follows a process by which all elements going into the earth are biodegradable.

“One of the requirements for a green burial space is no use of any chemical preservation of the body, not permitting bodies that are chemically embalmed,” Hollingshead said.

Individuals are also placed into a different type of casket as well.

“A body would be cast in a casket made of wood or wicker, something 100% biodegradable. No nails, no screws and even the inside is made of a linen that would be broken down over time,” Swan Point Director of Operations Joseph Cavallero explained.

Cavallero said to save space, individuals names are placed on a communal inscription as opposed to having an individual tombstone.

He said they only thought of the idea after getting many inquiries from families about more environmentally friendly ways to send their loved ones to their final resting place. 

“We’ve had an inquiry from about 30 different families over the course of two-to-three years,” Cavallaro said.

Cremation is also considered eco-friendly and someone who is cremated is allowed to be buried in the same space. 

Anyone looking to find out more about eco-friendly burials can visit the Green Burial Council’s website.

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