Burial or cremation is probably the biggest decision you will make when it comes to composing a funeral plan but truth is, there’s no easy answer.
The decision should always come down to what is the right choice for you and your family.
There are many factors to be considered such as budget, personal beliefs and religion amongst many others.
We have addressed some of the key considerations people have when deciding to go for burial or cremation.
A burial costs more than a cremation, fact or fiction?
The costs for a cremation vs burial change throughout the UK but on average, you’d expect a cremation to cost approximately £3,500. However, this could be much less if you choose Fair Cost Funerals. See our full price breakdown here
The costs for burials differ from cremation costs. The average cost of a burial in the UK is around £5,000.
When considering cremation and burial fees, you should also consider the additional expenses involved. The place of the cremation or burial ground will greatly affect the cost of transport, while the type of ceremony you choose may increase costs too.
Which is better for the environment, cremation or burial?
This question is one that is becoming more and more popular but it is a tricky one to answer. There are so many variables involved such as:
How far do the mourners have to drive to get to the burial vs. the crematorium?
How many are attending?
How far did the flowers have to travel?
What is the coffin made of?
What is your loved one wearing?
These things may seem tiny but they all add up. It is often the case that once all of the factors have been considered it eventually exceeds the environmental impact of whether you choose burial or cremation. If like many others, environmental impact is a factor in your planning, we recommend you consider the following:
Fuel use - Consider the fuel usage of transport for mourners
Land use - A 2013 survey suggested that half of all cemeteries in the UK could run out of plots within the next 20 years.
Mercury emissions emitted during cremation -Mercury in dental fillings can be discharged into the air. In previous years cremation was responsible for 16% of all UK mercury emissions. Many crematoria have since added special filters to limit emissions. It could be worth checking the Crematorium you plan to use has fitted one of these filters.
When all these factors have been considered we can return to our question Which is better for the environment, cremation or burial? At the moment, the general school of thought is that burial at a natural burial ground is best for the environment.
Burial at a natural ground means that bodies are not embalmed and use biodegradable caskets. Unmarked shallow graves are used to ensure that bodies decompose faster and the natural landscape is relatively undisrupted. Natural burial can also be less expensive than a traditional burial.
Is burial or cremation more flexible?
Cremation is a more flexible option by a long way. Options available if you choose cremation include:
Whether to have a service at the crematorium or later on with the ashes.
Where you scatter the ashes, be it a favourite spot, bury them, wear them in jewellery, or even put them in fireworks! You could even have a combination of all the above.
When it comes to burial options are a lot more rigid. Obviously, the body will be buried at the plot you have chosen and mourners will need to attend that location to pay their respects to the deceased.
How do different religions feel about cremation vs. burial?
Groups within the main religions listed below will often have their own opinions on cremation or burial. Below is just a general guide:
Hindus are usually cremated, as they believe that it helps the soul escape quickly from the body. Some families take the ashes to India to scatter them in the Ganges, while others will scatter them in a local river or the sea.
Cremation is preferred, but burial is deemed fine when cremation isn’t possible.
Buddhists can choose cremation or burial. Cremation is more prevalent, however, as it is thought that Gautama Buddha was cremated.
Most Christian groups advocate cremation and burial equally. There are, however, exceptions to this. For example, the Eastern Orthodox Church forbids cremation.
Jewish law asks that bodies be washed, dressed in the proper clothing and buried (not cremated) as soon as possible. Despite this, a small number of Jewish people do choose to be cremated.
Cremation is strictly forbidden in Islam. Muslims believe that the body should be honoured and respected as it was in life. Muslims are also prohibited from observing or aiding a cremation.
Final thoughts on burial or cremation
Ultimately, the choice of burial or cremation is a personal one. Whether you’re arranging a funeral for a loved one who didn’t specify a preference, or just pondering the question for yourself, how you feel should be the deciding factor.
Ensure your wishes are followed by taking a Fair Cost Funeral Plan
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