Natural (or Green) burial emphasizes simplicity and environmental sustainability. Hillside Cemetery was established in 1818 on the same ideology that is found in the natural burial movement today. A natural burial at Hillside is placed into a grave that is approximately four feet in depth and not lined with a concrete box or vault. Everything going into the grave must be biodegradable. These grave sites are located near the Spruce Section where they are adjacent to a natural field and mature trees.
Mark Harris, environmental journalist and author explains natural burial: “Green burial seeks to return one’s remains to the earth, as directly and simply as possible. Such a natural return is little more than a return to long tradition. Much of what constitutes green burial was once standard practice in this country, the default, not the exception. The goal then and now is the same: to allow the body at death to rejoin the elements it sprang from, to use what remains of a life to regenerate new life, to return dust to dust.”