The process of embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, slows decomposition, and enhances the appearance of someone disfigured by traumatic death or illness. In order to allow the family members enough time to arrange and participate in the funeral service, we use embalming to lengthen the time between death and final disposition.
Although embalming is not always required, most states enforce embalming if death is caused by a reported contagious disease, when the deceased will be transported from one state to another, if the final disposition will not take place within the allotted time frame, or if a public viewing is desired.
In general, cremation is not considered "green". Even though cremation does use fewer resources than conventional forms of disposition, the cremation process uses non-renewable fossil fuels. Cremation also produces airborne emissions. However, cremated remains do not need to be interred in a cemetery, which reduces land use.