Group wants return of Native Hawaiian 'clean burials,' says they're environmentally friendly

Associated Press

A group of Native Hawaiians wants to bring back traditional "clean burials" practiced on the islands centuries ago.

A common thread among ancient Hawaiian burial traditions was to cleanse a corpse by fire and to wrap the skeletal remains in a natural cloth. Then the remains could be buried in a basket, taking up far less space than a modern casket.

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Several bills in the Hawaii Legislature are asking the state to change the law to allow this practice.

Mahealani Cypher says traditional burials are environmentally friendly. She's pushing the proposal as an aging population faces limited space for burials.

Across the U.S., a small but growing number of people are choosing various types of environmentally friendly burials. The so-called "green burials" don't use concrete vaults, metal coffins or any chemicals.