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Illinois city considers biodegradable 'natural' burials

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — The Carbondale City Council is considering allowing "natural" burials that involve biodegradable materials and no chemicals.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports is discussing altering its code to allow the process at Oakland Cemetery.

Southern Illinois funeral director Samuel Perry provided information from the Green Burial Council. The council sets standards for natural burials which it says "furthers legitimate environmental and societal aims."

Natural burials use no chemicals such as formaldehyde to preserve a body.

Biodegradable caskets are used and placed directly in the ground with no vault.

Typically such graves are not even permanently marked.

Public Works Director Sean Henry says Oakland averages 70 burials a year and has room for 200 more years.

He says a closed portion could be used for natural burials.

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