Frequently Asked Questions

Green Burial

A green (or natural) burial is defined by the Natural Death Advocacy Network as ‘the practice of burying a body in the earth, in a manner which allows for natural decomposition with minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem.’

Hallmarks of green burial are exclusively biodegradable and sustainable materials, no embalming, shallower graves and ecologically natural grave sites without traditional headstones. 

Why choose green burial?

Conventional burial is expensive and damaging to the Earth. Toxic and unsustainable materials go into the earth in order to prevent the body decomposing naturally. Sealing the body within impervious and non-biodegradable coffins produces greenhouse gases through anaerobic (without oxygen) decomposition whilst offering nothing but toxic residue back to the environment. Simultaneously, the upkeep of cemeteries with watering, mowing and pesticides further contributes to the ecological footprint of conventional burial.

By choosing green burial you will have a more natural, eco-friendly and affordable return to the earth.  

What is the difference between green burial, natural burial and eco burial?

There is absolutely no difference, they are different terms for the same process. 

Is cremation more eco-friendly than burial?
Whilst cremation is more eco-friendly than conventional burial it is more harmful than an green burial. This is due to the amount of carbon and toxic gases released during the cremation and the high pH and sodium levels of cremains which makes them harmful to plant life when scattered. 

Aquamated

You can but unfortunately it must be an animal based fabric (e.g. wool) for it to break down, so our products are not suitable for aquamation. If you are a vegan who wants to be aquamated we recommend speaking directly to the provider as they may make exceptions.  

Cremated

Yes, you can! You may need to seek out a funeral director that specialises in green burial to access this option.  

Buried

Yes. Bodies must be transported within a coffin inside the cemetery but the body can be taken out at the graveside and lowered with only a shroud and carrier/back board. Funeral homes should be able to provide a loan coffin for the purpose of transportation.  

Many standard cemeteries offer a dedicated area for green burial and may also offer green burial within standard lawns. A funeral provider, local cemetery trust or death doula can assist you in assessing the options near you. This listing from the Natural Death Advocacy Network may also be of assistance: https://ndan.com.au/images/Factsheets/INFO_SHEET_52_Natural_Burial_Grounds.pdf 

Yes, you can have a shallow grave. The regulations vary slightly from state to state. In Victoria the grave must have a minimum 750mm of soil cover.  

Yes. Studies from the Green Burial Council in the USA show green burials are appropriate for those who have had these treatments. 

Funeral homes do not have to accept third party products. Some may ask you to sign an indemnity form if using products they have not supplied. If a funeral home refuses third party products and is not willing to facilitate green burial you are within your rights to seek another funeral provider, even if they have the body in their possession.

There are funeral homes around Australia that specialise in green burials (the Natural Death Advocacy Network has a helpful directory - https://ndan.com.au/directory) but other providers may also be able accommodate your wishes for an eco-friendly burial on request.

Our Products

Both founders of Heaven and Earth are vegan and we live by vegan tenets of avoiding the exploitation of animals as far as possible or practicable. This means our products contain nothing of animal origin such as wool, silk, leather, down or shellac. 

Yes. We offer beautiful embroidery on our shrouds done by a local artisan. We have some standard offerings but if you would like something specific please email us directly. Please note that personalisation takes an additional two weeks to process so this will ideally be prepared prior to the death.  

Wherever possible we seek to use products and associates that are local to our area of Melbourne’s outer east. In cases where we cannot source a product or component in Australia we will purchase from overseas and offset our carbon through Greenfleet. 

Returns

Given the nature of our products we do not offer exchange. We will provide a refund if there is an error with the product that renders it unfit for purpose.  

Shipping

Shipping will be Pack and Send with the cost of shipping automatically calculated when the shopping cart is finalised.

We cannot guarantee delivery times. However, you should contact us if you have not  received your delivery within the following time frames:  

- Standard shipping: between seven (7) and ten (10) days of us notifying you that your order has been shipped; and  

- Express shipping: between one (1) and three (3) days of us notifying you that your order has been shipped.  

There may be times where shipping will take a little longer (for example, during peak  shipping times such as Christmas or in the case of delivery interruptions). If we receive  notification of a delay, we will notify you as soon as practicable. If you have not received your items within our suggested time frame, please email us with your full name and order number, and we will investigate on your behalf.