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Green Right to the Grave': Environmentalist's 'Eco-Caskets' Gaining Traction

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“Why not be buried in a natural state where you can go back to the earth?”

Would you believe enough steel to recreate the Golden Gate Bridge and enough concrete to construct a highway from New York City to Detroit are buried each year -- with bodies that is? According to a California woman, CBS Local in San Francisco reports, the environmental cost of burying one's dead comes at a high price.

Jane Hillhouse has a solution to help offset this cost though. While traditional caskets can cost upwards of a couple thousand dollars, Hillhouse's wicker-like caskets only cost around $1,000. They're also less resource intensive.

(Related: You can now liquify your body for a 'greener' burial)

“Why not be buried in a natural state where you can go back to the earth?” Hillhouse, the owner of Final Footprint, asked CBS Local.

The biodegradable coffins by Final Footprint are made from rattan, willow, bamboo, sea grass, banana leaf or wood, materials which are also sustainably raised.

The business for greener burials is looking up, as Final Footprint cites customers doubling in the last couple years. Here's the CBS account of one woman who chose an ecological burial for her mother:

The eco-friendly aspect is what appealed to Janet Cobb of Berkeley, when the time came to arrange her mother’s funeral.

“She grew up in Nebraska – Monroe, Nebraska – Farm country,” Cobb remembered, pointing out her mother in an old family photo.

Nothing seemed more appropriate for this one-time farm girl’s final resting place than a ecologically friendly casket. Cobb chose sea grass.

“It came in a muslin case and it was absolutely beautiful,” she said.

[...]

“They said, ‘Now what about the casket?’,” Cobb Recalled. “I said, ‘Well, I have it in my car.’ And I thought really he was going to faint.”

Cobb also elected to go without embalming.

“The idea of not putting formaldehyde and all these things into the ground – I mean, I don’t know who’s thinking that we’re going to be getting up to dance or something,” she added with a wry smile.

Watch the report:

Think cremation may be the way to go? According to Hillhouse, the energy it takes to complete that process and chemicals that are released into the environment aren't ecological either.

For those questioning the legality of these more eco-friendly practices, on the Final Footprint website Hillhouse has included that it is legal to prepare your own loved one's body for burial, as well as drive it to its final resting place.

Learn more about Final Footprint here.

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