Paying last respects to the deceased is a deeply cultural ritual. Two of the common practices are burial and cremation. In a multicultural country such as the US, adopting a ritual is a choice for those with weak cultural attachments. Funeral arrangements in the US are a business, and all businesses compete in part by providing customized services that suit the requirements of the customers.
Currently, “environmentally conscious” groups have issues with the sustainability of cemeteries which occupy substantial tracts of prime real estate and must be maintained by future generations. They promote cremation as requiring less land and being more sustainable. To counter those trends, businesses linked to burial focus on the negative aspects of cremation and offer burials that are more “environmentally friendly” including caskets made from all natural products. An example is the EcoCasketsket which is made from all “natural” materials including unbleached cotton and “sustainably” harvested wood. The coating on the wood is natural as well: Shellac made from the lac insect Kerria lacca.