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Friday, January 17, 2014

Budget burial? 5 reasons to choose cremations over eco-burials

Eco-burials vs. cremation
Cremations offer an affordable alternative to "eco-burials"

By Keith Dunham

If you are looking for affordable funeral services, you may have heard of the eco-burial industry. The only other realistic option for those who want a budget funeral is a simple cremation. If the idea that precious trees may be felled and carted halfway across the country just to be made into a coffin upsets you, an eco-burial may be just the ticket. Here are five reasons why eco or ‘green’ burials may not be all that they seem.

#5. You may not know where the eco-burial site is

Eco-burials are few and far between
Out-of-the way and hard to reach eco-burial sites add unnecessary burden

Firms offering eco-burials are few and far between. There are certainly a number of green burial sites nationwide but they are far from mainstream. As such, the firm you contact may cover a large area and the burial site may not be anywhere near where you live. If you are interested in this style of burial simple because of your budget or concerns for the environment, many crematoriums can be just as green by offering the same cardboard caskets that eco-burials firms use. At least with a cremation you won’t have any trouble finding out where the burial site is.

#4. You may have to make many eco-burial arrangements yourself

Crematory services are more complete
Low-cost eco-burials leave some planning details to customers

Eco-burials appeal to those on a budget as well as environmentalists, but you may find that the firm you hire to take care of the arrangements leaves many of the processes up to you.

Considering the low price of eco-burials, you cannot expect a tailor-made death care service. For instance, you may have to phone the gravedigger and collect several documents yourself prior to the burial. You may be too numb with grief to be able to deal with these things on your own. Unlike eco-burials, cremations are fully handled by the funeral home with nothing further for you to arrange.

#3. Bodies aren’t embalmed for eco-burials

Eco-burials don’t just extend to the use of cardboard, moss or natural coffins. The embalming process isn’t carried out as it isn’t environmentally friendly. The embalming chemicals would inevitably seep into the group and cause some form of environmental imbalance. This is especially true if you use a casket that is quick to decompose such as a cardboard one, for instance. The consequence of not having the body embalmed is that the funeral needs to be carried out quite soon after death. You don’t have this problem with cremations as they have special filters to prevent toxic chemicals from being released into the atmosphere.

#2. The eco-burial site may be shared with pets

Eco-burial sites and pet cemetaries
Some graveyards are divided beteween pets and humans

It’s not uncommon for eco-burials to be done on areas of land shared with pet graves. If you are an animal-lover, it may not bother you that your deceased family member is laid to rest nearby animal graves. For other people though, this aspect of some eco-burials can seem very disrespectful to the human dead. If you are considering eco-burials just because of the cost, make sure your check where the burial site will be. An affordable cremation may spare you the problem of where a body is physically buried should you choose the keep the urn.

#1. You may forget where your relative was buried

Burial site markings fade over time
As time passes gravyard landscapes transform making it easier to find a site

Eco-burial sites will have plenty of burials going on close together with no headstones to mark out the patch as they aren’t environmentally friendly. Many people choose to plant trees as headstones so that the nutrients from the dead body will be used to create another living thing. When you return after a few weeks of letting the soil settle, the burial owners may be unsure of which plot was yours. Why put yourself through this? Choose a simple cremation for a budget burial without the headache and hassle.

About the author: The author of this article, Keith Dunham, works with Abbey Cremation, providers of cremation services in Connecticut. He is a music lover and regularly attends concerts and music festivals.

Image licenses: 1. The Library of Congress; US-PDGov; 2. William Murphy, CC-BY SA 2.0; 3. Tax Credits, CC BY 2.0; 4. MIKI Yoshihito, CC BY 2.0; 5. Charles Wagner AKA ChumpChange, CC BY-ND 2.0