What is cremation?

Cremation is the reduction of a body to ash and bone fragments through the use of very high heat. In, general, cremation can be a lower-cost alternative to a traditional burial as you can reduce funeral home, cemetery, and headstone costs.

Cremation regulations:

Depending on the regulations of your state, you may have at least a 24-hour waiting period before the cremation can take place. The actual cremation process can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours as well as a few hours to allow the remains to cool. The remains can weigh anywhere from 3 to 9 pounds.

For a list of state-by-state cremation laws, click here.

What to do with Ashes

You have several options for what happens to the remains. The ashes can be buried in a cemetery, placed in a columbarium, or scattered.

You are still able to have a funeral or memorial service with a cremation.

Purchasing an Urn 

Most funeral homes that offer cremation will sell urns as well; however, you do not have to buy your urn from the funeral home or even at all as purchasing an urn is not mandatory. Other options for buying an urn are online retailers, other funeral homes,  and even places like Costco.

Similar alternatives to cremation 

There is a growing demand for alternatives to cremation as cremation chambers release greenhouse gases and pollutants.


  • Terramation is an eco-friendly alternative to cremation. Terramation uses a special process to speed up the composition of a human body to turn it into usable soil. For more information, see companies like Recompose.

Alkaline Hydrolysis

  • This process uses water, potassium hydroxide, and heat to reduce the down body to nutrient-rich liquid and bone.

Biodegradable Urns

  • Biodegradable urns contain the ashed but then can be planted alongside trees, flowers, or in a garden.


  • Aquacremation uses a gentle stream of water to speed along the body’s decomposition. This process uses a moderate amount of water and is more eco-friendly than cremation.

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