Cremation is an increasingly popular option for many people, serving as an alternative to burial. Reasons for preferring cremation vary. Some religions request it, while other people consider it more environmentally conscious. Some may simply like the idea of cremation more. During cremation, the remains are placed in a special furnace and reduced to resemble coarse sand. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burials or other forms of disposition.