According to the Sunlife Cost of Dying report, in the UK, 75% of funerals involve cremation – one of the highest percentages in Europe. Cremation Resource says most people choose to opt for cremation instead of a “traditional” burial for many reasons, but many people choose a cremation because they believe it is the cheaper option.
They also believe being cremated is a more eco-friendly way to pass and believe it is better for the environment, but, on the other hand, people depend on their religion to decide whether cremation or a burial is an option. But why are there more people opting for cremations in the UK compared to burials?
According to funeral service provider, Beyond Life, there is a huge cost difference between being buried and being cremated. A traditional funeral with cremation will be £3,596, on average compared with a traditional funeral with a burial, which would cost £4,561 on average.
If you opt for a ‘direct cremation’ without a funeral service, with Beyond, it could cost around £1,195 on average.
One factor that could make a cremation service more expensive is if you opt to bury the ashes in a cemetery to have a special place to visit. But if you choose to scatter the ashes somewhere, that usually does not cost anything.
According to a 2013 survey, burial space is also very limited as over half of all UK cemeteries could run out of the room within the next 20 years, resulting in more people leaning towards being cremated.
However, according to The Guardian, one cremation will use around 15 kiloWatt of electricity on average and 285 kiloWatt hours of gas, as well as 16% of all UK mercury emissions being due to cremations as mercury in dental fillings, are released in the air.
As cremations do not require caskets, which are made out of wood acquired from cutting down trees and some being made out of bronze and copper which “may eventually pose risks to the environment because of the mechanical and chemical processes they have gone through,” says Memorial Cremations.
Different religions have their own views on death and what happens when someone dies, what is the best option, cremation or burial?
In Christianity, most groups support burials as well as cremation. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church is against cremation. As according to Saint George Greek Orthodox (Metropolis of Chicago) Jesus Christ died on the Cross and was buried and “we should imitate Jesus.”
It also says “everyone will be bodily resurrected in the Second Coming of Christ” and cremation is a denial of that bodily resurrection.
Whereas, in Hinduism, cremation is the more frequent choice, as they believe that it helps the soul escape the body faster. As many families take their loved one’s ashes to India to scatter them in the River Ganges.
Cremation is generally prefered in Sikhism, but burial is also considered fine if cremation is not possible. Buddhists can choose whether they want to be cremated or buried. But cremation is more common as it is believed Gautama Buddha was cremated.
In Islam, cremation is forbidden as Muslims believe the body should be honoured and respected as it was in life. They are also prohibited from aiding or even observing a cremation. Instead, the body is washed, wrapped in a plain shroud and is prayed over, usually within 24 hours of the death.
An increasing number of people are choosing to go for a ‘direct cremation’, according to Beagle Street, in which the body is cremated almost immediately, without a traditional service.
This is due to the average price of a direct cremation being dramatically cheaper, as well as the current climate, people are thinking about more environmentally friendly endings which has resulted in an increase in cremations, hence 75% of UK funerals consisting of a cremation service compared with burials and being the highest rate in Europe for cremations.