Simple, Green or Natural Burial
In 1993 the modern idea of green burial really took hold in the UK. Since then the concept has become increasingly popular worldwide. This type of burial allows the body to return to the earth unimpeded. Great details: https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/science_green_burial.html
-Use a natural casket or shroud
-No concrete or plastic vault (lid) liner (no lid) encasing the casket
-Burial is in an area with native trees, shrubs and flowers, with no man-made additions
-Burial is typically 3ft deep for shroud burial (3.5 to 4 ft deep for casket)
-Grave markers are those that do not intrude on the landscape
-A record is kept of exact location of each burial, typically using global positioning coordinates (GPS)
Body Composting is now available in Washington State and Boulder, Colorado! A body is subject to the same rules as regular composting in order for it to reach at least "131 degrees F for 72 hrs", and is completed within 4-6 months. Then any remaining bone is crumbled and mixed into the the 1-2 cubic yards of rich soil that had been a body.
The Colorado Burial Preserve in Florence, Colorado is designed specifically to receive this special soil on the top of the ground, but some or all can be kept by the family and brought anywhere. Seth Viddal presents on this process of body composting, complete with a slide show starting at 24:30, Q&A starting at 42:00.
Database of Utah rural and non-commercial cemeteries:
https://history.utah.gov/cemeteries/ click on "Find a Cemetery" to start your search for one that will allow simple, vault-free burial.
One Dispositioner living in a community with a flexible city cemetery wrote,
"Four of us dug his grave and I would highly recommend that because it was a labor of love."
Warning: "Investing" in City Cemetery Plots
Price-gouging is happening amongst city cemeteries in Utah: If you pre-purchase a plot your contract will say "Prices subject to change". City Councils "fundraise" through higher cemetery fees without any notice to plot owners, who only find out AFTER a loved ones dies, that the city thought of a way to 'SELL' THE PLOT AGAIN ...through new higher fees.
We spoke with a family (in 2017) who told us they had to pay $2100 for opening/closing because their deceased loved one (whose plot was purchased by a long ago deceased parent) wasn't a current resident of Bountiful city. The city council later voted for exorbitant fees. City Councils know that families that move away aren't watching how they vote. So they have non-residents by the neck to pay 4x what a resident pays. This seems like extortion.
Orem city, for example in 2022, the amounts are close to each other for opening/closing (aka "internment"):
What's NOT normal?
Last we knew (2017), if you move away from Kaysville to be cared for by a loved one, you are no longer considered a resident of Kaysville, despite how many years you paid taxes there. This amounts to basically buying the plot all over again.
Burial on Your Own Rural Land
Utah Law effective 5/13/2014
8-3-1. Plats of cemeteries shall be recorded.
(1)An executive officer of an organization in control of a cemetery, including a municipality or a cemetery maintenance district, or an individual owner in control of a cemetery, offering burial lots for sale in any county, shall file and cause to be recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county within which the respective cemetery is situated an accurate plat of the cemetery.
(2)The plat required under Subsection (1) shall clearly show:
(a)the sections of burial lots which have been disposed of and the names of the persons owning or holding each burial lot; and
(b)the sections of burial lots held for disposal.
(3)An executive officer or owner shall file additional plats of any addition to a cemetery before offering for sale any burial lots located in the cemetery.
(4)A county recorder may not collect any fee for filing and recording an original plat required under this
NEWS: One County now Forbidding Burial on Your Rural Property
discovered March 2022
Sandpete County Land Use Ordinance was changed to:
"Cemetery/ Crematoriums- A burial place or grounds owned, operated and maintained by a municipality with endowment care feasibility and disallowed for private persons or entities in all Sanpete County zones."
Good on them for the brevity by which they strip you of your rights.
Bad on them for taking those rights at all.
Word on the street is that the restriction occurred in order to reduce the number of abandoned and mismanaged cemeteries [punisher mentality]. But how about they consider publishing general guidelines as a solution [voluntary mentality]. Suggestion for model wording for rural burial & a history of the intended uses of park-like cemeteries
Burial at a Veteran's Cemetery
Honorably discharged veterans get FREE burial at a National Veterans Cemetery & Utah's State Veterans Cemetery. Free burial often includes a grave plot (or niche in the case of ashes), vault, opening and closing, marker, and setting fee.
Spouses of Veterans get burial for under $828 plus the cost of a vault.
Utah's Veteran Cemetery & Memorial Park : 801-254-9036
17111 S Camp Williams Rd
Bluffdale, UT 84065
The"DD 214", is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member's retirement, separation or discharge from active-duty military. This is needed to get burial in a Veteran's cemetery. If it is lost do not wait until after death to try to obtain one.
Reservists and National Guard retired personnel with 20 yrs of service are eligible for burial also, as are surviving spouses and dependent children (under rules established by the State of Utah: Google "Utah 71-7-3" to read it).
Utah Families can act as their own funeral director when caring for their veteran dead with proper paperwork from the Health Department's Vital Records Office (located in the county where death occurred). Family may bring their veteran to the cemetery themselves, make their own casket and bypass a mortuary completely, saving several thousand dollars. (see how on our "DIY Funeral" page)
More on Natural Burial
Grave Matters A Journey Through the Modern
Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial by Mark Harris
Conservation Burial Grounds on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQM35Rngryc (start at 1:05)
Promession as a form of body disposition
Conservation Burial Ground vs
of typical cemeteries =>
Not hiring a mortuary? ...but need a vault or liner for commercial cemetery burial?
One Utah vault company happily sells directly to DIYers IF YOU ARE NOT HIRING A FUNERAL HOME AT ALL:
725 S State St, Provo, UT 84606
Robert Alexander 801-388-9158
$350 each (150lb two-part vault = about 100lbs for the five sided section and 50lbs for the lid).
Poly (PVC) Vaults work just as well as the concrete vaults but can be moved by just 2 people. (Unlike the concrete vaults that need to be put in the ground with a crane.)
FCA of Utah does not receive compensation for products or services featured on this site.
Pleasant Green Cemetery is on the foothills just south of the Great Salt Lake. This natural historic cemetery has NOT been requiring vaults and the Superintendent welcomed family-directed funerals. Now the city has taken over the role and said they would honor the previous practices, so good luck! Please report back as to your experience with them
For personal cemetery help and information text/call either
Joyce 801-368-5884 or
For a copy of our 2008
Statewide City Cemetery Comparison
& to volunteer to conduct another survey of Utah cemeteries please email
In 2012 one of our members went to affordable-markers website. They bought a "pet" size marker for $174 which included s&h (in 2012).
Don't take the word "pet"as an insult, it's just 16" long instead of 20"). That size was acceptable at the Pleasant Green cemetery human burial.
Check ahead with your cemetery to see what their rules require.
Environmental Issues with Conventional Burial
Research from the 1990's claims:
Each year, over 22,000 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:
30 million board feet of hardwoods (in caskets)
90,000 tons of steel (in caskets)
14,000 tons of steel (in vaults)
2,700 tons of copper and bronze (in caskets)
1,600,000 tons of reinforced concrete (in vaults)
825,000 US gallons of embalming fluid (include mostly formaldehyde)