Even though more people are cremated today, burial is still a popular option. As more people are cremated, the number of cremains that are buried is likely to also increase. And the expansion of green burial may even increase the burial rate slightly.
With so many burial options available today, it’s a good time to do a quick comparison of three common choices: traditional burial, green burial and cremation burial.
A traditional burial plot is typically easy to find in most areas because they’re offered at almost every cemetery. The typical size of a traditional burial plot is 8’ long and 2.5’ wide for the grave and headstone. Those are the standard dimensions set by the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association. However, there are larger plots that are 9’ long and up to 4’ wide.
A green burial plot needs to be roughly the same dimensions as a traditional burial plot. The difference is more to do with what goes in the burial plot and the practices of the cemetery. The one hurdle with green burial is that plots can be harder to come by in most places.
Cremation burials are actually quite common, especially among Catholics. Many cemeteries now have small sections that are reserved specifically for buying cremated remains. The advantage with cremation burial plots is they are much smaller. The average size of a cremation burial plot is 12” by 24”.
Buying a traditional burial plot is kind of like buying any piece of land. The price is going to largely depend on the location. You can expect to pay at least $1,000+ for a traditional burial plot, but the price could go much higher.
Supply and demand can be a factor in the cost of a green burial plot. Like traditional burial plots, location is also a big factor. You can expect to pay at least $1,000-$4,000, but higher prices are common in some areas.
You’ll notice a big difference between the cost of a cremation burial plot versus a traditional plot or green burial plot. Most people pay somewhere between $500-$1,000 for a cremation burial plot. The major factor at play is size. Something else to consider is that it may be possible to buy a standard burial plot that can be used for multiple urns.
Traditional burial has fallen out of favor with many people because we now know it has a very negative impact on the environment. There are a number of ways that traditional burial hurts the surrounding ecosystem:
- Toxic embalming fluid can leach out into the ground.
- According to the Green Burial Council, it takes 20 million feet of hardwood to build caskets.
- Caskets require 64,500 tons of steel.
- 1.6 million tons of concrete is poured into burial plots.
- The burial plots take up land that can’t be used for anything else.
The whole appeal of green burial is that it’s better for the environment. Many steps are taken to eliminate the harmful effects starting with how the body is treated. Embalming fluid isn’t used, and everything that is put into the green burial plot is biodegradable. There’s also no need for metals that can leach into the soil or concrete for a liner.
The environmental impact of cremation burial is minimal, especially if the family chooses an urn that’s biodegradable. One concern is that cremated remains can be toxic for the soil if it hasn’t been treated. Chief among the problems are high levels of sodium that cause salinity issues and the acidic nature of cremains.
At Direct Cremate we help families arrange simple, affordable cremation that’s handled quickly so you can have a memorial, scattering ceremony or burial. Our team can be reached by phone or text any time of day to answer your questions.