If spending thousands of dollars to have your body pumped full of chemicals and plunged into the earth inside a steel box doesn't sound appealing, you'll be interested to know there are now quite a few ways to dispose of your remains. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these newer options are often cheaper too.
Cremation is the most common burial alternative, with nearly 40% of Americans choosing that option. However, the process releases pollutants into the air. Increasingly people are turning to greener options. The Washington Post reports:
People can forgo embalming or request nontoxic embalming fluid; buy a biodegradable container made from sustainable willow, wicker or bamboo, or even order up a simple shroud. The burial can take place on "natural burial grounds" where people are buried without markers on protected wildlife preserves. There's even a company that incorporates cremated remains into a "reef ball" that provides habitat for fish.
Spending eternity swimming with the fishes can run you about $3,000 to $7,000, but that's one of the pricier eco-friendly burial options. In 2009 the average cost of a burial in America was $6,560. Greener options are usually about half that because families adon't have to shell out for body preparation, a headstone, and a casket.
If you live on the West Coast you may already be familiar with green burials, but the practice is just starting to catch on in the mid-Atlantic states and isn't very popular in the South. Many people don't want to learn all the gory details about how corpses are handled, and as we saw with liquid cremation, this makes people less likely to consider alternative burial options. However, if everyone in America was forced to watch some Six Feet Under or read the book Stiff, they might come to see these uncommon practices as the most natural burial options.