To Dust—Not to Steel or Embalming Fluid—You Can Return

The US’s billion-dollar burial business packs an environmental wallop: not only do Americans bury nearly enough steel annually to make another Empire State Building, the average cemetery holds a backyard swimming pools’ worth of embalming fluid that can leach into nearby water tables.

Environmentally-friendly “natural burials”—in a biodegradable container or shroud—are slowly gaining popularity. But “Big Funeral” seeks to preserve profitable practices of embalming and burying in coffins and vaults by seeking more federal regulation of burial procedures. To this end, the industry “perpetuates the idea that a resource-intensive funeral is the only guarantor of lasting peace.”

Pacific Standard

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