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Green burial ground approved in Albemarle

A green cemetery can soon starting offering natural burials in Albemarle County.

The county Board of Supervisors late Wednesday night approved a special-use permit that allows the owners of Panorama Farms to add a natural burial ground to their property.

Green burials do not use embalming, have no plastic liners, concrete vaults or exotic wood caskets and do not have plastic memorials. Instead, they use biodegradable containers, and gravesites are marked with flat stones or native plantings.

They have been slowly becoming popular options for people who want the skip the expense or the heavy environmental impact of traditional burials of cremations. Standard cremations, which have become increasingly popular in the U.S., spew as much as 800 pounds of carbon dioxide and sometimes mercury vapor from silver tooth fillings into the air. In addition, the energy used to produce the flames uses as much energy as a 500-mile car trip.

“I will admit that I did not know very much, if anything really, about natural burial grounds like this,” Supervisor Diantha McKeel said. “I’m really excited about it, and I think it’s fascinating.”

Chris Murray, a member of the family that owns the property in Earlysville, said they are continuing to try to keep the farm


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