New Mexico couple makes business out of ‘green’ burials

BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico couple has launched a business that takes a nature-friendly approach to saying goodbye to loved ones.

The owners of La Puerta Natural Burial Ground say they are the only place in New Mexico that has fully adopted the natural burial technique. They call it their way of thanking the Earth.

La Puerta Natural Burial Ground is just 15 miles south of Belen.

About seven months ago, Donal Key and his wife opened the kind of business a lot of people would shy away from.

“There is a lot of contamination that goes into the soil with burying concrete and burying metal caskets, and with the chemicals involved in the embalming process,” and Key says his wife are doing something much different, “The body is buried in either a natural fiber blanket, or a shroud, or in a cardboard casket,” he said.

Their process is all about avoiding contaminating the Earth, while giving families a respectful, simple and cost effective way to say goodbye.

“Helping people who are under resourced in addition to those that are embracing the environmental aspects,” said Key.

While the natural burial process isn’t as common, Key believes people truly care about the Earth and that more people will start choosing this organic process.

“It’s kind of a growing movement yes, and it has to do primarily with people wanting to take care of the environment,” he said.

To clarify, La Puerta is not a funeral home but they do allow memorial services next to the burial site.

According to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, traditional cemeteries put more than 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid into the soil each year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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