Weighing the Options: Cremation vs Burial

holiding hands

Cremation is becoming more popular each year

Nowadays, more and more people are choosing cremation vs. burial.  One top reason why people are being drawn to the option of cremation for their loved ones or even themselves when the time comes is the cost. Cremation services can be more cost-effective than a traditional burial service. Another favorite reason for cremation vs. burial is the environmental benefits that it offers.

In most countries, both these options for laying a person to rest are acceptable.  However, there are quite a lot of cultures that are highly inclined to choose cremation vs. burial. In cultures where cremation is being practiced for centuries, it carries a spiritual aspect to it. In modern times, it is the practical aspect of creation that gives rise to its popularity. Now that both options are acceptable regarding cultural, practical, and environmental considerations, it’s nice to know the differences between these two methods of honoring the dead.

Neither of the two is completely free from not having an environmental impact. As cremation mainly involves burning, it releases emissions into the planet’s atmosphere wherein some of these are chemicals that can pollute the air. Burial is 100% zero impact either. The decomposing body releases pollutants into the ground that has the potential to seep into water systems or harm the immediate surroundings. Thus, it gets argued that the next best thing would be to minimize the environmental impact of both methods as much as possible.

Regarding the amount of space being used up for cremation vs. burial, the latter consumes the most. This is not an issue then for places where there is lots of land that can be allocated to cemeteries. The land is not an unlimited resource and in some highly populated cities; it has become quite scarce. In fact, family and relatives of deceased that have been buried years before are now facing the inconvenience of having to move their loved ones to another resting place when a cemetery has been closed and declared by the government to serve another purpose.

This possibility will not occur for those who chose cremation vs. burial because their remains get stored in urns. In comparison to a coffin, urns occupy less space. Aside from that, they are also portable. Lastly, relatives also like the idea of having their loved one close by, and it is no problem to store the urn at home.

 

couple thinking about cremation

Available Urn Designs

Whether the departed is a human, canine or feline loved one, there are countless of designs to choose from that can match the family’s budget constraints. Before cremation became widespread, the designs were limited to simple ones, and the material utilized were usually hardwood. At present, the designs have more variety and uniqueness. While wood remains to be a favorite material to make the urn from, people can also choose to have an urn that is of steel, brass, bronze, or marble.

Eco-friendly Urns That Are Biodegradable

Some people have taken a step further regarding how to commemorate their loved ones after cremation by choosing a biodegradable urn that also contains a tree seed. This type of urn is composed of biodegradable materials like cellulose or coconut shells. The ashes are placed alongside a seed that comes with the urn. It is then buried in the ground, and in time the seed will grow into a tree. The cremated remains act as a fertilizer that helps the tree grow.

This choice appeals to a lot of people because not only are they choosing an eco-friendly option for burial, they have also converted their loved ones cremated remains into a living memorial with the tree.

 

Benefits of Cremation vs. Burial

Having to decide whether to cremate or to bury is not usually a topic of choice for most people. When reality hits, the choice needs to be made, and for some people, they would like to make their preference known before they pass on instead of leaving the decision to their family. Here are the top benefits of cremation vs. burial:

  • Lower costs

Choosing to be cremated means that there is now no need to buy a casket, pay for a headstone, and secure a burial spot in the cemetery. With all these eliminated, the costs will significantly go down. For cost-conscious people, cremation is the ideal choice.

  • Flexibility with funeral services

Some people find that the stress associated with organizing funeral services is better managed with cremation vs. burial. There is a set period when the funeral needs to be done, but this limitation is not present, and the associated stress is done away with.

  • Less Impact on the Environment

Perhaps the top reason why people in America are now more open to cremation vs. burial is because of the lesser environmental impact. As recently as the 19th century, most people in the United States considered cremation as taboo. Shifts in mindsets started when medical experts from Europe pointed out that it is more hygienic to cremate.

  • Elimination of decisions associated with burial

A funeral service that concludes with a burial can be a lengthy affair. With the stress that comes with this activity, people would prefer to do away with making decisions especially if there is an option where they don’t have to. With a cremation service, one does not need to decide anymore on a cemetery plot, casket type, or headstone design.

  • Flexibility on one’s final resting place

With a burial, there is only one obvious place where you end up which is on a cemetery plot under the ground. People now are open to the idea that they can choose for their remains to not be inside a coffin for all eternity. Why be buried when your ashes can be scattered on your favorite beach or somewhere that holds special significance for you and your loved ones.

On the issue of cremation vs. burial, making a decision is not often a straightforward process. Together with the practical considerations, people also factor in their religious beliefs and personal preferences on the matter.

By Thomas Snyder

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