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Creative Alternatives To Burial

Updated on May 1, 2015

Planning For Your Passing

Are you a firm believer in the preplanning of the day when we will be physically leaving this earth? Having been through a number of these events there are several things I have learned along the way. When a loved one passes, there is a great deal of emotion behind the events surrounding the final disposal of our remains. Having our wishes known and covered financially makes a tragic event a little easier.

There are so many alternatives to the traditional burial or cremation. For many people, the idea of alternatives to burial makes a lot of sense. Let's face it, burial plots are starting to become less available. Lots of families have multiple members in one plot to save space and expense. And unless you have a plot already, it may get more difficult to find a space. Many locations have started using memorial niches and walls to replace traditional burial sites.

For others, the cost of funerals is just way to high. At an average of $10,000 and above, having alternatives just makes sense. The cost of funerals and burial arrangements keeps rising. In most cases the passing happened suddenly, forcing the family and loves ones to make decisions in haste. Those emotions will cause decisions to be made that are costly. An depending on the resources of those who are doing the planning. The financial resources may or may not be there.

For some, they would like to think over and above the traditional and be creative when it comes to their remains. Remember, no matter what you decide, it's your choice. So here are some creative options for you to consider. Many people have a kinship to the sea or to the land and want to return to their natural state.

Preplanning , especially if you want something less than a traditional burial is an important step that you can take so that you know that your wishes will be respected

Burial Facts

What Type Of Arrangements Have You Planned?

Would you consider a less traditional form of burial?

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Memorial Diamonds

A Swiss company has taken a novel approach to storage of the cremains of loved ones. Algordanza has a service where they will create a diamond from the ashes of your loved ones. The diamonds could then be set into a piece of jewelry or collected by the family. Over and above the cost of the cremation, the price for this service is about $4500.

For those who would find comfort in having their loved ones with them, this could be a very viable alternative


Eternal Reefs

An Eternal Reef is a designed reef made of environmentally-safe cast concrete that is used to create new marine habitats for fish and other forms of sea life. In an Eternal Reef the "cremains" of a person are incorporated with a concrete mixture that is formed into an artificial reef formation. They are then place in a location chosen by the family, This would be ideal for anyone who has a love of the ocean or whose interests were in sailing or was a fisherman.

Increasing Demand For Non Traditional Burial

According to Reuters, "The most recent survey conducted by funeral industry publishers Kates-Boylston Publications in 2008 found that 43 percent of respondents said that they would consider a green burial. That was a significant increase from the 21 percent who expressed curiosity about green burials in an AARP study conducted the previous year."

The Poetree

This is another ecofriendly way of using cremains to forward the ecosystem. Here the ashes of the deceased are put in a pot or a container that later on houses a living tree. In the pot the name of the deceased is engraved making it a modest and living headstone. Once the tree is big enough, the entire pot and tree are planted in a garden or a park.


Woodland Burial

Becoming increasingly popular, the woodland burial is a suitable substitute that is truly ecofriendly.

These burials take place in beautiful woodland areas that are designated as burial sites. The remains of a loved one are placed into a biodegradable coffin and lowered into the ground at a spot of their or your choosing. After a short period, the coffin will breakdown and a loved one can become part of the woodland soil.


Space Burials

It may seem a little far-fetched, but a loved one’s remains can be sent into space. The remains can either be sent into deep space or sent to relatively low orbit around the earth. The low orbit option will see the casket container burn up through the atmosphere during re-entry. It is an expensive option, but one that has gained some popularity.

Memorial Art

There are a number of companies that turn the ashes of a loved one into paints and ceramics. These materials can then be used to create pieces of art. A loved one’s remains can then placed in a place where you should see fitting.

Consider A Green Burial

A green burial is becoming more popular due to the fact that there is less burial spaces available. And they are less expensive than traditional burials.

The other issue is the cost to the environment of a traditional burial. In a green burial, the remains are "given" back to the earth in it's most natural form. There are no trees cut down for a coffin nor are there any embalming fluids leeching back into the soil.

The idea of the green burial is that the body is allowed to decompose in it's natural state. Generally speaking, the green burial must be done within 24 hours. Jute, cardboard, or bamboo is often used.

Actually, cremation is a form of a green burial.

A Green Celebration Of Life

Making Your Wishes Known

It's important to let your family know what your wishes are about your final arrangements. Be verbal and clear to your next of kin or spouse what your expectations are. Check with an attorney so that your wishes are stated in a trust or will. Or select your service provider and pre plan your funeral ! No matter what your choices are, plan to have the finances available to make it happen as you want it.

Would You Consider An Alternative Funeral Service?

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    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 2 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      You are welcome. We all need to think about our future and make plans. IT makes it so much easier on the survivors at a very hard time

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      This is a very helpful article, so much to consider.

      I will be back to read it again as I haven't done anything about this subject yet and I need to. I'm in my mid-seventies now but cannot make a commitment of any kind. Thanks for making me stop and think about it.

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 2 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I thought the coral one was an interesting idea too

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 2 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      My husband and I have all of our arrangements preplanned and taken care of. Makes it easier on any survivors

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I like the idea of the woodland burial and coral reef idea (unless I died by drowning).

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 2 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I thought the coral reef idea was very interesting

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 2 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Fascinating..I personally love the coral reef idea! Interesting, unusual hub.

    • maddot profile image

      maddot 2 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia

      Good one!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      This is a very interesting article with lots of useful information. It will help to make plans that cannot be avoided. Thanks, Linda.