July 6 2009, 10:31 AM
Joanna Passarelli, a marketing staffer for Montrose-based Ecoffins USA, says her company sold $40,000 worth of banana-sheaf and bamboo caskets to funeral homes last year in a new business that extends Americans' efforts to out-green each other into the afterlife (if you believe in one, that is). "We've had funeral directors look at them and say, 'I guess you can go to hell in a handbasket now,'" Passarelli tells The Associated Press of the environmentally friendly coffins that biodegrade quickly, a trend that has roots in Britain. In natural burials like the one Passarelli advocates, bodies aren't embalmed but placed in enormous baskets and then simply lowered to the ground and covered with soil, decaying naturally. And, if you look around, a green casket is but one option available to the eco-dead. As ABC 15 in Arizona reports, why not forego the box altogether by wrapping the body in cloth? And forget the headstone.