There is a growing fashion for printing scenes onto caskets, so we’re being asked if this is compatible with natural burials.
The core principle of a natural burial is to add nothing synthetic to the ground.
Print to caskets is adding something synthetic. Generally, inks are based on chemicals that are harmful to organisms. Much of the printing being offered is onto material which is then stuck to the casket. This material is always synthetic.
We note though that the Return to Sender caskets use “ECO UV” ink, which has a much reduced solvent level compared to the usual inks, and they print directly onto wood (ie. no other film or material involved). So it’s a a minimal addition, and acceptable.
The inks appear to be relatively benign on organic matter in the soil and don’t have a very significant effect on decomposition. So for situations where people absolutely must print something to help in their grieving, this is the best way to go.