The Marana Mortuary Cemetery, a nearly three year old operation at 12146 W. Barnett Road in Marana, has begun offering a “green burial” option that gives meaning to the phrase “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”
Larry J. Van Horn, general manager, said that green burial is about keeping the process of burial as natural as possible.
“No harsh chemicals are used in a green burial,” Van Horn said, “and a simple eco-friendly casket replaces the concrete and steel from a vault and a traditional casket.”
Because the cemetery is a privately-owned limited liability corporation (LLC), it doesn’t have to use concrete vaults in certain sections of its burial areas, Van Horn pointed out.
“The typical vault is a dome liner shaped like a bell that’s made out of concrete, which is set over a casket to hold up the earth,” Van Horn said. “Another type is a sealed concrete vault that holds the casket and keeps outside elements from getting into the vault, but still keeps the ground from caving in.”
In a green burial, which is done in a natural desert area, Marana Mortuary Cemetery continues to fill in the ground as it sinks until it has leveled out, Van Horn said.
“Instead of a traditional casket, we use one made out of wood and heavy cardboard, which returns to the earth much quicker,” he said. “And bodies are not embalmed for green burials.”
Van Horn noted that there’s a state requirement for embalming a body if it is to have a public viewing.
He also pointed out that Marana Mortuary Cemetery is an endowment care cemetery.
“When we sell a burial, we set aside money with the state to ensure the cemetery can have perpetual maintenance,” Van Horn said.
The cost of a green burial is considerably less than a traditional burial, Van Horn pointed out.
A traditional burial with a casket and services averages between $5,000 and $6,000 for the funeral and from $3,000 to $4,000 more for cemetery burial services,” Van Horn said.
“Many families can’t afford a traditional burial financially and they turn to cremation as an alternative,” Van Horn noted. “But by doing a green burial at $1,995, they can have a graveside service without the financial burden or turning to cremation.”
Marana Mortuary Cemetery encompasses 18 acres and offers traditional and personalized funeral and cremation services. The cemetery has a main mortuary building, as well as a chapel that can seat up to 200 persons. The chapel features state of the art audio and visual facilities, as well as an on-site catering kitchen.
Van Horn said that often families request a celebration of life service in the chapel, and instead of going to a restaurant or house for dinner, choose to have a meal catered for guests at the chapel. He added that the chapel also has been used as meeting and banquet space by groups for corporate meetings and family gatherings.