Sustainable cemeteries

We would like to make our cemeteries more sustainable and in turn help residents memorialise loved ones in an eco-friendly way.  Sustainable cemetery management is a way that we can reduce our carbon footprint and promote biodiversity.

Read about Zero Carbon Eden to learn more about our sustainable priorities.

Native stone headstones

When choosing material for a loved one’s memorial or headstone it is important to consider where the stone has originated from.  By choosing native stone from Cumbria or the wider UK we can reduce our impact on the environment and support local businesses.  Unfortunately, a lot of stone commonly chosen for headstones is sourced from the Far East.  Shipping this stone across continents emits a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere.  This negatively effects our environment.

As a financial incentive to encourage the use of native stone, we will waive the usual memorial application fee of £157. This will reduce the overall cost to families who wish to memorialize loved ones in an eco-friendly and environmentally responsible way.

Cumbria has many companies that manufacture materials suitable for memorials. Examples include Lazonby sandstone, red St Bees sandstone, Westmorland slate, Honister slate, Coniston slate, Shap pink granite and so on. There are many alternative stones found across the UK. Limestone, granite and Portland are all suitable.

Please enquire with your memorial mason about the options they have in local stone so you can choose the most sustainable option.

Woodland burial

Our woodland burial areas offer a return to nature for those who would like an alternative to a traditional lawn grave. We have woodland burial areas in both Penrith and Alston cemeteries. Over time, we plant native trees on these areas and maintain the grounds to encourage the regeneration of flora and fauna. By using biodegradable coffins you will have even less impact on the environment. Your funeral director will be able to tell you about biodegradable coffin options.

See woodland burial for more information.

Living wreaths are a modern alternative to traditional wreaths and grave displays to mark a grave in the woodland burial area. Living wreaths are floral tributes made up of natural materials including flowers and bulbs that are dug into the grave. They decompose and produce flowers in later years so are a long-lasting and sustainable alternative.

Waste in cemeteries

We dispose of a lot of waste from our cemeteries, mainly from wreaths and flower arrangements placed on graves.  We want to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill from our cemeteries. We urge you to take green waste home to recycle or compost once they are no longer suitable for graves. Green garden waste wheelie bins for domestic properties are for green waste including flowers, plants and leaves.  To avoid contamination of green waste you must remove any non-green matter from wreaths or grave displays when you dispose of them.  This includes plastics, paper, metal and other non-compostable materials.

Read the information on garden waste to learn more about green waste.

We really appreciate your efforts to reduce the amount of green waste that ends up as refuse. Working together we can make our cemeteries more sustainable for the future.

Last updated: Tuesday, 20 June, 2023.