Afterlife Options – Exploring Cremation

One of the most popular afterlife options is cremation. As of 2005, there were almost 2,000 crematoriums in the United States alone. There are multiple reasons that people choose cremation options after they pass, but it is often less expensive than purchasing a casket or being embalmed. Some people also choose cremation as their burial option because they feel that it impacts the environment less as there are not any burial materials left in the ground.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2020

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Cremation is an alternative burial method that has been in practice since the Stone Age. Despite the fact that there is a lot of religious controversy over the act of cremation, it is still a popular modern practice as of 2005, there were almost 2,000 crematoriums in the United States alone.

If the deceased or their family has chosen cremation, then the body will be sent to a crematorium after preparation. The family is allowed to choose if the deceased is cremated with or without clothes; parts of the outfit, like metal findings and buttons, will be returned because they cannot be burned.

Some medical devices, like pace makers, are required to be removed from the body prior to cremation for safety reasons; other types of plastic and metal implants are prohibited, as well.

There are many different reasons why people choose cremation over other traditional burial methods. For example, it is less expensive than purchasing a casket and having the body embalmed.

Additionally, some people choose cremation over burial because they feel that it impacts the environment less as there are not any burial materials left in the ground.

On the other hand, there are also those who feel that the pollution from crematoriums pose a threat to the environment. Emissions from mercury dental fillings, cosmetic implants, and normal bodily toxins are all released into the air.

When it comes time to receive the ashes back, the family has many different options regarding what they can do with them. For example, scattering the ashes of a loved one is a very common practice.

Many choose to scatter them in a location that was either pre-determined by the deceased, or in an area that they enjoyed during their lifetime. Aerial and at-sea burials are popular. It’s important to keep in mind that there are different laws in each state that govern the way cremated remains can be transported and scattered. Many places prohibit scattering the ashes in a body of water because the remains can potentially increase the pollution; there are also some health concerns, as well.

In addition to scattering the ashes, there are also other methods of handling cremated remains. For instance, storing them in a burial urn has long been practiced throughout history as it is a way to keep the deceased close to the heart and home.

Sometimes, families choose to keep some of the remains in an urn while scattering the remaining portion of the ashes there is no right or wrong way. Alternatively, there are also many services rising in popularity which offer to turn the cremated remains into a wearable keepsake, like a necklace pendant or ring. These types of services are available for both people and pets. Some choose to pass the piece down as a family heirloom in remembrance of their loved one.


History of Cremation


Understanding Cremation


Cremation Process


Environmental Impact


Religious Views on Cremation

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