According to the Portland Press Herald, the newest trend among hipsters is green funerals:
Klara Tammany's mother didn't want a typical American funeral. No embalming, no metal casket, not even a funeral home.
When she died after a long illness a couple of years ago, family members and friends washed and dressed her body and put it in a homemade wooden casket, which was laid across two sawhorses in the dining room of her condo in Brunswick.
Then, for two days, friends and family visited, brought cut flowers, wrote messages on the casket's lid and said goodbye.
"We had this wake, and it was wonderful," Tammany said.
Before you go "Ewww", remember that this is what our ancestors did for time immemorial. It is still the way most people in the world bury their dead.
I can't remember the article now, but I read once that this kind of wake (where the body is present in the house) is actually beneficial. The idea is that we have a harder time coping with loss when the physical reminder is removed. It's a little more difficult to think of aunt Sally as dead when she's at the funeral home or the church. But when the body is right in the parlor, you can't ignore the reality.
The claim of the funeral homes is simply ridiculous, as the state Center for Disease Control points out. Sure, you don't want to put mom and dad next to the cistern, but there's no reason for them to be embalmed and put in a massive casket. Funeral homes have a nice little racket going on. $10,000 to dispose of a body? People only pay it because they're told it's what they have to do.
The article reminds me of the way the Bene Gesserit handled their dead in Frank Herbert's Dune. When a sister died, with little fan fair they were dumped feet first in a hole. Then a tree (of their choosing) was planted over the grave site. Fertilizer, garden, and grave marker all in one. Now that's a green funeral.