When making end-of-life considerations, you have several burial options to choose from. In addition to traditional ground burials, Colonie, NY funeral homes offer inurnment, natural burial, burial at sea, interment in a mausoleum, etc. Keep reading as we discuss these burial options to determine the right fit for you and your family based on your preferences and budget.
Traditional or in-ground burial is the most common form in the United States. It involves placing the body into a casket and burying it underground, usually in a cemetery. It may be preceded by a funeral or graveside service and is ideal for individuals and families who want to be buried and memorialized outdoors.
Conventional components of a ground burial include:
- the casket
- embalming (optional)
- burial vault or grave liner (optional)
- burial plot
- opening and closing of the grave
- headstone or monument.
Natural or green burial is increasingly popular among environmentally conscious people. It is for those who wish to return their bodies to nature without disrupting the environment. A natural burial is a relatively simple funeral practice involving compromise on the part of the bereaved family members. For example, it prohibits embalming or other artificial preservation methods, so the burial must occur as soon as possible. The body is simply placed inside a biodegradable shroud or casket made from natural materials such as bamboo, willow, or cardboard, and buried. Natural burial sites do not use concrete vaults or traditional headstones, though you may plant a living memorial such as flowers or trees. Their sustainable practices help preserve the land and nurture the habitat for wildlife.
Cremation is another option that can minimize aggregate funeral carbon footprint. It is the most popular alternative to traditional burial. Cremation involves reducing the deceased’s remains at high temperatures to ashes, which can then be scattered or buried in an urn. Cremation has several advantages over traditional burials, including lower costs and more flexibility regarding services and final disposition. However, cremation also has some disadvantages, including environmental concerns associated with producing energy from burning wood and fossil fuels.
Interment in a mausoleum is another alternative to traditional burial. These facilities are often built in a park-like setting with crypt spaces and cinerary urn niches. Some mausoleums look like mini houses, while others are designed in the traditional style of a small chapel. Mausoleums are for both above and underground burials, but above-ground interments are more common. They can be built directly on cemetery or funeral home grounds or located in a separate building. Mausoleum interments are typically an expensive alternative to traditional burial because they provide more space than a typical burial plot and require more upkeep.
Burial at Sea
Burial at sea is another option for green burials with two main types: scattering and whole burial.
Scattering is for cremated remains. Ashes are usually scattered by family members or friends of the deceased at sea. However, hiring a professional company to carry out this service is possible.
Scattering ashes at sea requires that one moves at least three nautical miles away from shore before disposing of the ashes. You can do this from overhead or on a water vessel.
Full-body burial at sea involves placing the body in a weighted biodegradable casket and lowering it into the water from a boat or ship. The casket will sink to the bottom of the ocean floor and decompose.
The body may be buried naked or wrapped in a shroud that can also decompose in time. It is important to ensure that no non-biodegradable elements are on the remains (body or urn) being lowered into the water. These can harm the marine ecosystem and cause damage to boats and ships. Some options, like burial at sea and natural burials, are subject to specific regulations. Be sure to inquire about their availability from funeral homes in Colonie, NY, before deciding. Call us today or visit us to begin planning.