Green burials coming to Blacksburg

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Green burials have been a topic of conversation in Blacksburg as an alternative to traditional ways, and one Blacksburg resident has been waiting for green burials to come to town.

“For years I’ve wanted to have a green burial for when I die,” said David Roper, a longtime Blacksburg resident.

Roper has lived in Blacksburg since 1967.

“I came to Virginia Tech when there was 7,500 students,” Roper said.

He said there is no other place like Blacksburg.

“Blacksburg is a great place to live and I’ve lived all around the world,” Roper said.

He also said he never wants to leave.

He said he’s been looking into green burials for ten years now. That is why he has been asking for the option to have green burials in town.

“It appeals to me for many reasons,” said Roper. “One is that this is the way my ancestors were buried.”

He said before, that he was even looking to be buried away from Blacksburg.

“I have looked into them in South Carolina and elsewhere in Virginia, but I really wanted one here,” Roper said.

Blacksburg Public Works Director John Boyer said they are now performing green burials.

To make them green, everything must be completely biodegradable. Boyer also said it won’t look like traditional burial plots either.

“There’s going to be a natural look to this portion of the cemetery,” Boyer said.

He said this is an alternative way to avoid putting concrete, chemicals, metal, and treated woods into the ground.

“All sustainable products [are] used in the burial process,” said Boyer. “They’re also not going to use embalming fluids or you’re going to have to use embalming fluids approved by the Green Burial Council.”

Now that the option is here in Blacksburg, Roper said he will get to stay home.

“I’m so thrilled with the Town of Blacksburg,” Roper said.

Town officials said plots are available for purchase now. They said this will be its own section at the Westview Cemetery.

About the Author

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.