Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor.
Despite being part of the natural celebration of the cycle of life and death, most modern variations on traditional funeral practices are far from environmentally-friendly.
A burial generally involves a casket made out of wood taken from forests (most of which are not sustainable), and a body that has been embalmed using chemicals such as formaldehyde—a dangerous carcinogen.
While commonly thought to be less environmentally disruptive than a full-on burial, the process of cremation can also damage the environment by releasing a slew of hazardous gasses into the atmosphere, including: mercury, dioxin and carbon dioxide.
And those are just the environmental expenses.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average price of an adult funeral in 2009 was $6,560—more than nine times what it cost to bury someone in 1960.
This dramatic cost increase could be part of the reason why increasing numbers of older adults are looking into the possibility of a more down-to-earth burial ritual.