Top Ten Burial Trends

Which burial method suits you?

Ever wonder about burial trends beyond the more traditional burial and cremation options? Let’s review some of the more exotic approaches. From being made into jewelry to being shot out into space, there’s something for everyone. Should any of these methods appeal to you, check with your local funeral home to see what’s possible based on your location and budget. Once the decision has been made, use an online planning service like to share your wishes with family and friends. Now, let’s get started with the countdown.
  1. Traditional ground burial

    Ground burials remain the most common method of being buried. The body is prepared and embalmed and placed into a casket, or coffin, and buried typically six feet under the ground in a cemetery. Many modern cemeteries add a concrete lining to the gravesite to reduce decomposition with the idea being that the body is preserved for as long as possible. Headstones or markers are often placed above ground over the location of the body to indicate the name and date of birth and death. Memorials such as this provide loved ones a place visit or feel closer to the deceased. Variations of this include crypts, mausoleums and more.
  2. Cremation

    Cremation is one of the most common performances of burial, this can be due to personal or religious reasons, with the body exposed to high temperatures of 1400 to 1,800 degrees fahrenheit or 740 to 982 celsius causing it to burn, leaving the ashes, also known as “cremains.” After the cremation the ashes are handed over to the family, who can disperse them in a special place or keep them close by, usually in an Urn. Many cemeteries offer the option to purchase a smaller plot that just supports the burial of ashes, usually held in an urn. This creates a space for family and friends to visit you. Companies like offer cremation jewelry which contains hollowed sections where ashes can be added. Other companies make jewelry or art incorporating your ashes.
  3. Natural burial

    What’s old is new again. Natural burials skip the embalming process and as well, the gravesite is not lined with concrete used by most modern cemeteries. Once the body is wrapped in a shroud it is placed in a biodegradable casket, letting nature takes it course and allowing the body to decompose naturally. In this way, you become part of the cycle of life.
  4. Eternal reefs

    Come part of the ocean’s ecosystem and save a reef along the way. This process creates material used in making an artificial reef from a mixture of concrete and human remains using crushed bone left over from cremation. The resulting concrete orbs are then strategically placed among reefs where restoration is needed. Remains become part of the underwater habitat, attracting fish and other creatures. Once again, a circle of life situation.
  5. Resomation or alkaline hydrolysis

    An alternative to traditional cremation. Also known as bio-cremation, this method uses heated water and potassium hydroxide to liquefy the body, leaving only bones behind. Once complete, the bones are then pulverized, much as in regular cremation. Also referred to as “flameless cremation”, the entire process takes roughly 2 to 3 hours, which is equivalent to the time necessary for an average cremation. The process only works on protein-based materials, so the body must be dressed in certain types of natural-fiber clothing, such as silk, leather or wool. Resomation uses less energy compared to cremation, which relies on natural or propane gas to reduce a human body to bones through combustion. Although it is gaining popularity, it is still challenging to access this process in North America at this time.
  1. Cryonics

    Largely the domain of rich optimists, cryonics is the process of freezing the body with the hope medical science will advance enough to reanimate the body with both personality and memory intact. It is a far from perfect process that involves using toxic chemicals in an attempt to prevent damage to cells from freezing. There were just over 200 people in cryonics storage as of August 2011 in the U.S., according to the Cryonics Institute.
  2. Space burial

    Cremated remains are shot into space. More exactly, ashes hitch a ride with a rocket already heading to the stars. This is a symbolic more than practical gesture since the cost of spaceflight remains extreme. Only 1 to 7 grams (0.04 to 0.25 ounces) of the remains are launched but are left to live on amongst the stars for the rest of time.Variations of this service exists such as postmortem flights, where remains experience zero gravity after a low-orbit journey before returning to Earth to eventually burn up in the atmosphere.
  1. Mummification

    A blast from the past, some companies offer mummification services for both people and pets. Somewhat like the cryogenic crowd, users of this service holds out the hope that the remaining DNA might allow for cloning in the future, and a second chance at life.
  2. Plastination

    Consider the popular “Body Works” exhibits. Not unlike mummification, plastination involves preserving the body in a semi-recognizable form. Some go so far as to have the body frozen in time in an everyday activity. This approach is used by anatomy labs and medical schools to preserve organ specimens for educational purposes
  3. Freeze-drying

    Also called promession, this process involves immersing the corpse in liquid nitrogen, which makes it very brittle. Vibrations shake the body apart and the water is evaporated away within a special vacuum chamber. Next, a separator filters out any mercury fillings or surgical implants, and the powdered remains can be laid to rest in a shallow grave. Considered part of the green burial movement, freeze-drying is currently available in Europe only, so plan ahead!
    Remember, whole body or organ/tissue donation is another option… One that can save lives or at the very least, advance scientific research! Visit to define your plan and then share it with the people who need to know.

 A CheckOutPlan helps people plan for end-of-life events and share their memories with family and friends. Take stock of your life, share your stories and ensure your final wishes are followed. Visit to get started for free today!

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