In its 2020 annual statistics report, the Cremation Association of North America states that cremation rates continue to grow as a new tradition. Likewise, in a January 2020 CNN story, Sandee LaMotte reported that cremation has replaced and become more popular than traditional burials in America.
In line with this, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) also reported that over half of Americans who died in 2020 would most likely be cremated, and projected that by 2040 nearly 80% of Americans will opt to have their bodies turned into ash.
Why Has Cremation Risen So Much In Popularity?
During the Roman and Greek civilizations, society adopted cremation as a method of disposing of dead bodies. However, by the fifth century, the practice had become outdated because of the spread of Christianity.
Today, when a person dies in the United States, there are three legal options for laying their body to rest. It could be by burial, cremation, or medical donation.
Although burial has since been a method of choice across the world, times are a-changing, and society has revived interest in cremation.
This transformation began in the 1960s, perhaps because after centuries of insisting on full-body burials, the Vatican lifted the ban on cremation in 1963. All the same, there are many factors that influenced this change in funeral preference.
What Are The Benefits Of Cremation?
1. Cremation is less expensive
For one, cremation is usually less expensive than a traditional burial. Funeral costs are on the rise, as do prices for funeral plots and some unknown costs. For instance, some cemeteries may require grave liners, or charge extra to open the ground for burial.
According to NFDA 2016 statistics; the median cost of a funeral was around $8,000, as caskets alone cost between $2,000 and $10,000, while the cost of a direct cremation was $2,400. The cremation industry veterans from Green Meadow Memorials suggest you consult professionals if you need an actual estimate of cremation, or memorial services to honor your loved one and give him or her a loving resting place. You can choose or customize an urn according to your loved one’s personality or interests.
2. Cremation is environmentally friendly
When a loved one passes away. It is a custom to carry out certain rituals; we embalm the dead, build coffins, mark graves, and host gatherings. These rituals don’t just impact our experience of death. They also affect the world, sometimes negatively.
Some of these practices put a heavy strain on the environment. That is why more and more people are choosing cremation over traditional burial, given the amount of damage a traditional funeral service can wreak on the environment. Typically, embalming involves the use of several environmentally hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde, methanol, phenol, and glycerin. Which leaches into the ground, and sometimes pollutes local waterways, harming land-and water-based ecosystems alike.
According to the Berkeley Planning Journal published by UC Berkeley, traditional US burials annually use over 100,000 tons of steel, over 1.5 million tons of concrete, and 30 million feet of hardwoods. Casket wood alone requires razing around 4 million acres of forest each year. Traditional graves and cemeteries require a lot of land.
With cremation, embalming isn’t necessary, which means hazardous chemicals won’t be released because of laying a loved one to rest. Direct cremation avoids leaching harmful chemicals into the ground, reduces energy and natural resource consumption, and conserves more land.
3. Cremation allows funeral flexibility
Cremation affords the family the time and flexibility to schedule the memorial service at the time and place that best suits them. Families can choose to have the cremated remains at the service in a cremation urn, or not. Unlike traditional burial, where your funeral arrangements will be under a usually tight timeframe.
With cremation, you have enough time to juggle schedules, reserve a location, order the ideal cremation urn, and be creative with the memorial tribute.
4. Cremation is the new trend
This benefit is probably odd, but as more people choose cremation over traditional burial, it shows that the practice is becoming a trend. Cremation is here to stay, so as society chooses it over traditional practices, it continues to reveal its benefits and influence others to follow the lead.
Besides the above benefits, we must keep in mind that whether they cremate a body, donate it to the medics, or bury it, we shall all turn to dust. So why not cremate?
Perhaps it is not so important how we lay the body of a loved one to rest as much as how we remember them.