About Green/Natural Burial

Green burial has become increasingly popular as concern for the environment has grown. It is a natural burial process by which all components going into the earth are biodegradable.

GBC_logoSwan Point is proud to be the only cemetery in the greater Providence area to be certified by the Green Burial Council, a national advocate for natural burial and a 501(c)3 educational and outreach organization. The Green Burial Council defines green burial as a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, the reduction of carbon emissions and the restoration or preservation of habitat.

Green Burial Containers

Swan Point requires the use of simple caskets made of wood or wicker for all natural burials. Wooden caskets must be free of toxic materials; they should be held together with wooden dowels and non-toxic glues. Caskets made of wicker, bamboo and other natural materials must be free of toxic paints and varnishes. The dimensions of a handmade casket should be similar to the size of a standard casket. If an oversized casket is required, please notify Swan Point to ensure that the grave can be expanded to the casket’s dimensions. The structural integrity of the casket must provide for appropriate handling of the body throughout the burial process. Shrouded bodies are permitted, but must be enclosed in a biodegradable casket.

Transporting the Body

Swan Point Cemetery recommends the deceased be transported by a licensed funeral director. You may arrive at the cemetery in procession (typically led by a funeral director) or your family may choose to meet and gather for the burial at the Cemetery. In both instances, Swan Point personnel will lead the procession from Swan Point’s main gate entrance to the grave site.

Moving the Body to the Grave

Pall bearers, typically family, friends and funeral home personnel, will transfer the casket from the vehicle to a rolling bier. Family and friends may escort the body alongside the bier as it rolls. Swan Point staff will transfer the body from the bier to the lowering device which has been set over the grave prior to the family’s arrival.

For safety, Swan Point staff will operate the lowering device at the grave. This device ensures a gentle lowering into the grave. It is a quiet, mechanical device that lowers a body using canvas straps. Swan Point will allow a family member to turn the handle that begins the lowering process if they so choose.

If requested, Swan Point will provide soil and shovels for families to symbolically participate in the burial of the casket. Swan Point’s staff will complete the closing of the grave using mechanical equipment after the family leaves.


Families may place single stem fresh flowers in the grave after the body has been lowered.

In keeping with Swan Point’s floral tribute policies, any fresh cut or bouquets of flower left on top of the grave will be removed once they wither. Flowers in artificial containers, as well as artificial floral pieces of any type are not permitted.

Scheduling the Burial

Our staff will assist with the scheduling of the burial. In general, funerals must be scheduled 48 hours in advance by contacting the administrative office at 401-272-1314.

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