US funeral homes each year put nearly 1 million gallons of embalming fluid into the ground along with the departed, wrap them in tons of metal and concrete—and charge a fortune for it. All of which makes “green burial” a sensible and fast-growing alternative, the Chicago Tribune reports. Green burial sites replace tree-cleared cemeteries with woodlands, eliminate embalming, and use simple pine caskets.
Traditional funeral directors complain that makeup is difficult to apply for viewing without embalming, which also prevents spreading of disease. But picturesque headstone-free eco-cemeteries, now in many states, are increasingly popular. Grave markers are usually flat stones natural to the area, and the money spent on plots is used to fund a trust to preserve the land.