What is Better: Cremation or Burial?

Cremation vs. Burial

One of the most personal decisions you'll ever make, either for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, is choosing between a cremation or burial. While there is no "better" option between cremation or burial, it is important to be informed to make the best decision for you or your loved one. It depends entirely on preferences and circumstances. Read on for help when it comes to making this important choice.
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Main Differences Between Cremation and Burial

The main difference between cremation and burial is how the body is treated. With a traditional burial, the body remains intact and is typically embalmed before it is laid to rest in a casket in the ground or a mausoleum. With cremation, the body is incinerated, leaving only ashes behind. Cremated remains can also be buried in the ground or mausoleum, but they can also be scattered or kept in a cremation urn.

Which is Cheaper: Cremation or Burial?

In general, cremation tends to be cheaper than burial because there are less products to buy for a cremation. The cost of cremation includes incineration and an urn to hold the cremated remains. Other optional expenses can include a burial, the use of a scattering garden at a cemetery, or interment in a mausoleum or columbarium. Burials carry additional expenses including, a burial plot, a burial vault, a casket, and opening-and-closing service.

The question of whether cremation or burial is cheaper is not quite that simple. Memorial planning involves many variables in price. This is why planning memorial services in advance has become common practice, similar to saving for college and retirement. Planning in advance allows people to choose how their life story should be told and removes the burden for those left behind. It also gives you plenty of time to decide whether you want a cremation or burial, and whether it be at a gravesite, in a mausoleum, etc. These are personal decisions that impact how someone is visited after death, and also impacts cost.

Of course, cost should never be the only factor. It is important to uphold the wishes of the deceased, whenever possible.

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Is Cremation or Burial Better for the Environment?

Cremation is generally considered to be better for the environment. This is because traditional burials typically involve embalming chemicals that can seep into the ground, burial vaults made of concrete, and caskets made of non-biodegradable materials. While cremation does involve carbon dioxide emissions by burning natural gas, it is usually better for the environment than traditional burials.

There has been much debate about whether cremation or burial is better for the environment. There are also other options including natural or green burials that are designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Therefore, the answer to whether cremation or burial is better for the environment ultimately depends on several different choices made during the planning process. Recommendations include not being embalmed, not choosing an in-ground burial, and picking the most biodegradable casket possible. We suggest stating this as an important consideration of yours when speaking with a burial planning associate.

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Additional Considerations

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing between cremation and burial is preference. A burial comes with a memorial, such as a flat marker or a headstone, typically with an inscription. A dual plot or family plot can even allow loved ones to be buried together. Cremation, on the other hand, typically involves the scattering of the remains, either in a scattering garden or somewhere within nature. Some view this as being more freeing and more connected with nature, while it subsequently results in less of a typical "memorial." An interesting middle ground to consider is placement of a cremation urn within a cremation niche, creating, in a sense, a bit of both options.

Another important factor is the religion of the deceased. Some religions frown upon cremation or necessitate certain restrictions be met, while others prefer or even require cremation over burial. Therefore, if you or your loved one is of a particular faith, be sure to understand the appropriate stances on internment.

The Final Word on Choosing Between Cremation and Burial

When it comes to deciding if cremation or burial is "better," the actual question is which is better for the individual. There are different elements to consider for each, from cost to personalization of the memorial to religious stance. For some, they will want their loved ones to be able to visit them within a cemetery to place flowers by their headstone or marker, for example. Others may want to be released within a garden or kept close to family within an urn. This obviously makes it a very personal decision, but also a decision worth consulting with loved ones. You may be surprised at their own preferences for how they would like to remember and honor you.

If you still have questions and concerns about how to choose the option best for you and your loved ones, the experts at MemorialPlanning.com are always available for a free consultation.

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