“Green” caskets: a kinder, gentler, more affordable option

New Wisconsin company produces natural caskets with north woods pine, no chemicals

When The Farley Center’s Natural Path Sanctuary in Verona opens this summer, joining Circle Cemetery near Barneveld in offering natural burials, more Wisconsinites will be able to choose a burial that reflects how they live – with respect of the environment and gentleness toward the planet.

As the choices for people in who are interested in a “greener” burial expand, so do the questions:
● What is a natural burial?
● What are the burial options at most natural cemeteries?
● Are natural burial options more or less expensive than traditional options?
● Will a traditional cemetery/funeral director allow me to use a green casket?

Jonas Zahn, founder of Beaver Dam, Wis.-based Northwoods Casket Co. started researching these questions after building a “natural” casket when his grandfather died.

“I designed and built my first casket when my grandfather passed away. A modest man, he was fond of the simple things in life--he scoffed at fancy. In the years since, I have designed and built several caskets and researched the laws and regulations of many states concerning burials. I learned about Green Burial practices and how so many people wish to be laid to rest peacefully, simply, and without the unnecessary consumption of natural resources. Most of all, I have learned that a simple, low impact burial is much easier to plan than I had thought,” Zahn said.

Established in 2010, Northwoods’ founding principle is to promote sustainable practices for a smarter planet. The company provides customers with a simple, affordable, wooden casket purposefully designed for quality, low cost, and the choice to simple, do-it-yourself assembly: assembled caskets cost $999 and kits are $679.