Modern burial practices are far different from those of the old world. Here’s the reality: Cemeteries in America bury over 100,000 tons of steel, about 1.5 million tons of concrete for coffins and reinforced vaults every year, which ultimately contaminates the earth. While cremation doesn’t affect the ground, the process pollutes the atmosphere with noxious substances like sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and dioxin, to name a few. Because of the harm that these practices inflict on the environment, there has been an increasing demand for greener, more natural burial practices.

What a green or natural burial aims to do is embrace the natural effects of decomposition. Regular burials involve an embalming process, which is proven to be harmful to workers, that combats the decomposition process. Because people want to leave a greener footprint upon exiting this world, biodegradable coffins, which can resemble large wicker baskets, are becoming increasingly popular. A natural burial helps the body and coffin naturally decompose to become one with the ecosystem. There are many plots of land that do this, such as Joshua Tree National Park in California. A small area of the park has been fenced off and burial sites are marked by little steel plaques. Places like this reveal the importance of becoming more environmentally conscious about life after death.

Not everyone enjoys being lowered into the earth. While cremation is a popular option, it is not as green as a natural burial. So why not get planted in the form of a tree to help introduce more oxygen, breathe new life if you will, into the air? The Bio Urn, which is made of 100% biodegradable materials, is the perfect catalyst to remember a loved one. There is an upper portion, which holds the soil and the seed, and the lower portion, which contains the ashes. As the tree grows, the ashes dissolve into the soil and become one with the tree’s root system. It might be nice to one day have forests instead of cemeteries.

Some people, who desire cremation, want to be in the ocean forever. The increasing number of cremations has made scattering ashes in the ocean, mountains, rivers, or other place in nature an environmental risk. The Eternal Reef program in Florida has been making aquatic life after death very unique, and has decreased the environmental risk factor. Eternal Reefs originally started making cement reef balls, which replicate natural structures for reef development, to help promote reef growth in the Florida Keys. Now one can request to be a part of one of these reef structures. A person’s ashes are mixed with the cement in a structure’s construction. The person can grow with the new reef. You can even get a plaque with the person’s name on the structure, and you can get the coordinates so you can go dive to see the reef development.

Alternative ways to make life after death greener are increasing in popularity. It’s about leaving the planet in better shape than you left it, and helping to create a more sustainable, greener planet for future generations.

Author's Bio: 

Vinnie is the content writer at and enjoys writing about how people can maintain or head towards healthy lives by employing simple methods in day to day life. Getting healthy doesn't have to be a chore, it can be a part of your everyday life.