Burial isn't the only option

Cremation is an increasingly appealing method of disposition. In most cases, cremation is pre-chosen or prearranged. Currently in the USA , nearly 25 percent of bodies are cremated, with that figure expected to rise to 33 percent by the year 2010. In a couple of Eastern seaboard states (where people might be more 'land-conscious', as opposed to the wide-open Mid West, for example), the percentage of cremation is already over 50 percent. Cremation is also a widely accepted practice in other parts of the world - Japan , for example, has a 98 percent rate of cremation.

Cremation is considered advantageous for a number of reasons:

  1. It entails a cheaper funeral , especially if there's no coffin, embalming or viewing.

  2. It saves on interment and burial fees, and can eliminate the need for a casket and some of the more ostentatious aspects of a conventional funeral.

  3. It's faster and more convenient.

  4. It's more environmentally friendly in terms of land usage and immediacy of 'return to nature'.

Some consider it the ultimate freedom to have their ashes scattered over land or sea. Cremation is a great alternative memorial for someone who perhaps took joy in the water or the wind.

The environmental friendliness of cremation may be somewhat disputable, as cremation ovens contribute to air pollution. This pollution can be toxic if embalming fluid has been used. Many crematoriums have addressed this issue in recent years and are working towards containing the pollution that's released by the ovens. 

An Appealing Alternative

Some people consider traditional burial to be unappealing. The notion of cremation could offer a more acceptable alternative to dealing with death and the issues of burial and interment . 

Other Decisions

If you're considering cremation, you'll have a number of decisions to make. You'll need to be aware of the medical and scientific issues , and also the legal issues involved. You'll also have to make decisions regarding columbaria, urn gardens and scattering sites.

Preparing for Cremation

US consumers need to be aware of the Funeral Rule, and know that all its provisions apply to cremation as well. For example, the law doesn't require embalming before cremation, nor does it require the use of a casket. Knowledge of the Funeral Rule and how it can be applied to cremation will help you save money and make choices that are best suited to your situation.

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