Guest Post - Pros & Cons of Cremation vs. Burial

    Here's a short guest post about the positives and negatives of both cremation and burial. It is an interesting debate, to go with cremation or burial.

Death is an aspect of life that most people fail to understand. Even though everyone is going to experience it eventually, it’s often a topic of discussion that doesn’t come up. But, regardless of how far and fast you run away from it, there is always the stunning realization that at some point in the future you will cease to be.

One way to cope with this is of course to be prepared for when it comes to fruition. This may be a thought you’d like to keep out of your head, but as you ease into your inevitable demise, you can start with simple questions such as: should I be buried or cremated?

If you’ve never taken the time to ponder this thought, here are a few pros and cons to consider as you draw nearer to the infinite beyond.

Being buried is one of the oldest, most widely-practiced funerary tradition s in the entire world. One of the first human burials, discovered thus far, is over 100,000 years old, although instances of intentional human burial are thought have existed long before. Since then, it has grown into a wildly popular convention in the religious and secular world.

In other words, the entombment of deceased individuals is a tried and true method for disposal, and here are a few reasons why:
  • It provides a permanent installation for memorial and mourning.
  • It gives visitors a fixed location to pay their respects whenever they please.
  • It adheres to countless religious traditions.
Being buried, for lack of better words, is the way to go for many people and the benefits are apparent. But, for every reason why, there’s always a reason why not:
  • Without proper funeral plan insurance from GIO or other similar companies, burying a loved one can cost over $6,000.
  • Cemeteries around the world uphold different rules and regulations and some even prohibit the use of cameras while on the grounds.
  • Burials aren’t mobile, making it difficult for far away loved ones to come and visit.

Cremation isn’t quite as dated as traditional burial, but it has been a worthy alternative for about 20,000 years. The remains of the Mungo Lady, discovered by Jim Bowler in 1969, are considered some of the oldest anatomically human remains found in Australia. According to the burn marks on her bones, her corpse was burned after she died, then smashed and then burned again.

The act itself may sound gruesome but there are definitely advantages to being turned to ash. At the very least, it’s a great alternative to traditional burial, and here’s why:
  • Cremations can cost as little as $1,000, making them a viable option for families without the means to have their loved ones buried.
  • Ashes in an urn can be taken, stored, hidden or scattered anywhere you please.
  • Being cremated wastes far less resources than a burial.

For those that don’t want to spend a small fortune on having someone buried, cremation is definitely something to consider. But, like anything else, it’s not a perfect solution:

·      Crematoriums do release a considerable amount of CO2 and pollution into the atmosphere.
·      Cremation is looked down upon in some religious circles by the church and other officials.
·      Some parts of the world don’t offer cremation as an option at the time of death.

As you can see, both cremation and burial have their advantages and disadvantages. Before choosing one over the other, convene with your family and decide which is best for not only you, but the person on their way to the other side. It may be an uncomfortable discussion, but for the costs and potential squabbles at stake, it’s worth opening a dialogue.

AuthorChris Jensen is a former life insurance adviser and current writer for Australian insurance company, GIO


  1. Anonymous4/12/13 02:34

    My parents are big on being prepared for the future, they are making me put together my will and get an idea of what my funeral plans will be. I know they have decided to be cremated and found cremation services in Arvada, CO that will take care of them and they are suggesting that I do the same thing. Should I just sign on with them or wait until later in my life to worry about this?

  2. Thanks for highlighting the pros and cons. Even though I like the traditional burial service, the idea of cremation is growing on me. I like the idea of being scattered in some beautiful location. And with the trends of "going green," I imagine we'll be seeing lots more cremations in the future.

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  3. I didn't know that cremation could be so much less expensive than burial. I have a friend who has been planning for her father's funeral. They are considering cremation and it seems like it can be a good option in place of traditional burial. I hope they can find a solution that suits their needs. http://www.cremationchicago.com/services.html

  4. I had no idea that burying the dead was such an old tradition! Although, I suppose it is never very fun to think about death. My father has talked about wanting to be cremated after he passes away, but my mother doesn't agree with it! She wants to have a permanent resting place to visit while he would much prefer to have his ashes taken up to his favorite biking trails! Hopefully it's not a decision we will have to make soon, but it is good to know the benefits of each! http://szykownyfuneralhomeil.com/index.html

  5. Wow, I didn't realize that cremation could be so affordable. Although I like the idea of a typical burial with a market site, I think cremation would be an excellent alternative. It would be neat to spread the ashes in a favorite location. It might not be a marked site, but I still think it would make that location some place special.

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  7. It sounds like both burial and cremation are good options. For me, it's great that cremation only costs around $1,000! Plus, the urns are really convenient, and can be kept in different places. However, I guess it just depends on the person. http://www.michels-lundquist.com/cremation/

  8. I really prefer cremation over traditional burial.

  9. Actually, choosing cremation or burial is a personal choice, and it is all about making what you feel is the right. You need to feel comfortable with your decision, as it will help you to come to peace with the situation.

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  11. One of the first decisions of funeral planning is burial or cremation. Thank you for sharing your perspective of the pros and cons for each decision.
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  13. Nice Blog!!
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