Weighing up the 2 alternatives: cremation vs burialJuly 2018
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an average of 159.000 people is dying yearly in Australia. The rising costs for burials caused by the space restrictions encouraged a shift towards cremation. Over 70% of the population from urban areas and about 56% from the non-urban area is opting for cremation. If you read this, you are probably weighing up the 2 alternatives.
What happens with the deceased’s body?
When it comes to a funeral burial, the body is cleaned and embalmed, dressed, and sealed in a coffin or a basket, depending on each person’s preferences. It is buried in a cemetery plot or in a mausoleum. The form of disposition was really common in the past and it continues to be used nowadays.
The cremation serves as an alternative to the traditional burial. The body is placed in a cremation container and is incinerated until it is reduced to basic chemical compounds, such as ashes, gases, and minerals. They are placed in an urn or in a temporary container and returned to the deceased’s family, which can decide to disperse, keep or place them on a memorial site.
How much does a funeral cost?
Since the spaces in the cemeteries are limited, the burial’s costs increased in the last years. A basic funeral service includes the following:
- Basic service fee: from $2.000
- Body transportation: $250-$300
- Preparation of the body: $200
- Embalming: $600-$700
- Flowers: starting from $100
- Hearse: $300
- Memorial print package (memorial directories, funeral cards, registration book etc.). $150
Despite the form of disposition, you will need to contract the services listed above. Moreover, you will need additional services, depending on what you choose.
- Grave plot: $1.000
- Burial vault: $1.300
- Casket: $900 - $15.000
- Headstone: $1.500
- Opening and closing fee: $1.200
- Urn: $250-$300
- Cremation $1.000
- Casket rental: $1.000
What you need to know about funerals is that the costs are strongly influenced by the options you choose. However, cremation is cheaper, especially if you skip the memorial service.
How to decide whether to cremate or bury?
1. The religious aspect
If the deceased planned the funeral in advance, you need to respect his/her wish. If not, the form of disposal must be chosen by the family. In some religions, cremation is not allowed, and this is an aspect you need to consider.
While the Eastern Orthodox prohibits cremations, the Bible itself does not provide any specific information regarding this issue. In Islamic and Judaism faiths, the cremation is also forbidden. There are religions where cremation is permitted, such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
The Catholic Church used to prohibit cremations, but nowadays, it is acceptable for a Catholic to be cremated. The only condition is to perform the Funeral Mass before cremation. The remains need to be buried on the ground / at sea or entombed. It is forbidden to be scattered.
2. The environment factor
The scientists conducted numerous studies in order to find out which form of disposal is friendlier with the environment. In time, the carbon footprint has a higher value for the traditional burial than for cremation. To be more specific, researchers claim that cremations can be between 10%-50% better for the environment, depending on the crematory type.
If you want a traditional burial, but you are worried about the environment, there’s an extra solution for you: the green funeral. This implies that the body is not embalmed. It is interred in a green burial site, in a biodegradable coffin.
3. Other aspects to be considered
If the remains need to be moved from one city/country to another, cremation may be the way to go. It will be easier to move the urn than moving the remains of your loved one. Moreover, they can be scattered in a special place that has a significance for the deceased.
On the other hand, if there’s no resting place for the urn of your loved one, there’s a risk of losing the remains. And once a body is cremated, there’s no way to perform medical investigations in case of any suspicion of assassination.
Choosing the way of disposal is a personal decision. The best option is to inform your family of your preferences, so they are able to make your final wish come true. Consider all the pros and cons: environmental, financial and religious.