We know how difficult it is to lose someone you love. It can be even harder to face the decision of how to lay them to rest. Should they be buried? Cremated? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, that’s okay!
We have come up with a list of many of the substitutes to a traditional interment to aid you during this difficult time. Take some time looking over our list of the best burial alternatives, and their cost, to become better informed when speaking to a funeral home.
1. Classic Cremation
The most widely recognized alternative to a traditional burial is the standard cremation process. This is when the body is burned at very high temperatures until all that remains are the bones, which become ashes.
This is a great alternative to burial if the idea of decay doesn’t seem right for your loved one, or if you want to be able to have a part of your loved one near you in an urn.
Pricing for classic cremation and urns
With the cost of a traditional burial getting higher every year, more and more people are turning to cremation. However, cremation prices are also increasing, as it's costing between $2,000-$7,000. One way to combat these high prices is to provide an urn, or cremation container to the funeral home.
Purchasing a very unique and ornate urn from a funeral home can cost anywhere between $1,000-$2,000. If you intend to avoid this cost check out Memorials.com to find beautiful urns at a lower price.
2. The Living Urn - Biodegradable Urn
This lovely alternative to a classic burial is a great way to create a lasting memory of a loved one you recently lost. The Living Urn is a system which uses the ashes of your loved one to help nurture a new plant, tree or flowers to life.
Not only does this option send a message of hope — that in death we find new life — it also creates a lasting physical memorial of the memory of someone close to you.
Pricing for a living urn
The living urn is a great way to make sure you're getting your money’s worth. With a flat rate of $129, plus the cost of the plant or tree of your choice, the living urn offers a beautiful resting place for your loved one without breaking the bank.
You can learn more about this burial alternative, and the different options available at the The Living Urn website.
3. The “Capsula Mundi” Burial Pod
A burial pod is a similar alternative to a living urn, but in, what some believe, is an even more pure form. Instead of cremating your loved one and using their ashes to foster new life, the burial pod is a biodegradable egg in which your loved one is buried. A tree that is chosen by the deceased, in life, is planted on top of the pod which acts as a natural fertilizer for the plant as the body breaks down.
This alternative is a great option for someone who loved the earth and nature, as it is one of the most eco-friendly traditional burial alternatives.
Pricing for a burial pod
The burial pod has yet to be released, however, the company has started selling their biodegradable urn, which is $440, plus the cost of the tree. For more information about the release of the burial pod, or their biodegradable urn, check out the Capsula Mundi website .
4. Aqua Cremation
If you're thinking about cremation for your loved one, but the process seems too harsh, aqua cremation is a great alternative. Using a very gentle and steady stream of water, which speeds up the natural decomposition process of a body laid to rest in the ground, this form of cremation is done with the utmost respect for person's body.
This alternative is also much more efficient, and less wasteful than typical cremation. It also allows for 20% more of the remains to be collected, and uses less water than one household typically uses in a day.
Pricing of aqua cremation
Currently, the average cost of aqua cremation is similarly priced to that of regular cremation, ranging anywhere from $700-$3,000, depending on the funeral service you choose. This price is expected to drop in coming years as technology and popularity increases.
To learn more about Aqua Cremation, check out Holamn’s Funeral Service, which is a funeral home that offers this cutting edge burial alternative.
5. The Coeio Mushroom “Infinity Burial Suit”
What some refer to as the “mushroom death suit,” this burial alternative isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. This is one of the most eco-friendly burial options in existence. Not only does this suit allow the body’s nutrients to return to the earth to foster new growth, but it also cleanses out the toxins in our bodies that come from the products we use and consume on a daily basis.
Sales for the "mushroom death suit" skyrocketed in 2019 after actor Luke Perry was buried in one that same year.
Pricing for an "Infinity Burial Suit"
The "Infinity Burial Suit" costs around $1,500. They also make a smaller suit for pets that'll cost around $200.
For more information on this incredible burial alternative, check out Coeio website to hear the full story of why and how the mushroom suit was created.
6. Recompose - A Human Composting Option
As ominous as “human composting” may sound, Recompose is a wonderful company focused on bringing yet another green burial alternative to the table. The process allows the body to break down more quickly than if it was buried in a standard coffin, and it produces one-cubic-yard of incredibly nutrient rich soil, which can then be donated to a protected forest in Southern Washington.
Pricing for Recompose
The cost of recomposition is $5,500, which is higher than other options, however, there are a number of benefits that this service fee provides. This flat rate includes all transportation costs, option for a virtual ceremony and filing of the death certificate among other things.
Visit the Recomposition process page to help you decide whether or not recomposition is the right choice for you, or your loved one.
7. Body Donation to Science
Another great burial alternative is to donate a body to science. After one dies, some of their organs remain healthy and viable for donation. This is a wonderful thing, as in death, a person can save another’s life.
Even if the organs aren’t viable for donation, a body can be donated to science and be used for a number of incredibly important scientific research studies.
Pricing for donating body to science
There is no cost to donate a body to science. It is important to remember, however, that you must register for the viable organ donation and body donation to science separately depending on how much of the body you wish to donate.
This burial alternative is sure to honor the life of any lost loved one. For more information visit the Science Care website.
8. Sea Burial
This burial alternative is perfect for anyone who always felt at home by, or in the ocean. Although some regulations apply, it is possible for you to return your loved one to earth by means of the ocean. This applies to both cremated remains, or a body. For more information on what is legal with regard to sea burials, check out this page on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website: www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/burial-sea.
Pricing for burial at sea
The cost of a water burial depends on whether or not you would like to attend the actual ceremony. An unattended water burial is one of the most economic options of all burial alternatives ranging from $200-$400. If you’d like to attend the water burial, the cost increases to anywhere between $500-$2,000+.
For more information on sea burials, check out this page from the SeaServices website.
We hope that this list of alternatives to a traditional burial have been helpful during your time of need. Whether deciding on behalf of a loved one, or planning ahead for when your time comes, we want to provide you with all the information to make a conscious decision about how to be laid to rest.