Gili Gordon/EyeEm/Getty ImagesThe ritual of burying a dead body is so deeply ingrained in religious and cultural history that few of us take a moment to question it.
But when you dig into the statistics, the process of preserving and sealing corpses into caskets and then plunging them into the ground is extremely environmentally unfriendly.
Toxic chemicals from the embalming, burial, and cremation process leach into the air and soil, and expose funeral workers to potential hazards. And maintaining the crisp, green memorial plots is extremely land-and-water-heavy.
For this reason, scientists and conservationists have been looking into more eco-friendly ways to die.
"The best way is to allow your body to feed the earth or ocean in a way that is sustainable for future generations," Susan Dobscha, a professor of marketing at Bentley University and editor of an upcoming book about the green burial industry called, "Death and a Consumer Culture," told Tech Insider via email.
Here are five reasons why modern burial practices are bad for the environment, along with some safer, more natural and conservation-focused alternatives.