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Illinois Cities Considering Natural Burials

Peoria Public Radio


CARBONDALE - The Carbondale City Council is considering allowing "natural" burials that involve biodegradable materials and no chemicals. The council is discussing altering its code to allow the process at Oakland Cemetery.

Natural burials use no chemicals such as formaldehyde to preserve a body. Biodegradable caskets are used and placed directly in the ground with no vault. Typically such graves are not even permanently marked.

Peoria’s Springdale Cemetery considered green burials several year ago. But now is making plans to offer a hybrid green burial option. Manager Mark Matuszak says Springdale has set aside a wooded area for natural burials, but they won’t be certified because vaults would mark the graves.

Springdale is also in the process of building a large scattering area for families to spread cremains of loved ones. Matuszak says scatterings would be recorded once the area is completed this fall.


Kristin McHugh is an experienced radio journalist and nonprofit manager. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Peoria Area World Affairs Council.
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