Burial or Cremation?

Across Derbyshire and Staffordshire there are a variety of options available to families.

Crematoria include Markeaton Crematorium which is owned by Derby City Council; privately-owned Bretby Crematorium near Burton, Bramcote Crematorium near Nottingham, Trent Valley Crematorium in Aston-on-Trent and Amber Valley Memorial Park & Crematorium near Alfreton.

Across our area there are many options for burial. Derby City, Derbyshire Dales, Amber Valley and South Derbyshire Councils all own and operate many cemeteries. A number of Parish Councils also own a small cemetery, such as Ockbrook & Borrowash, Duffield, Aston-on-Trent, Melbourne and Draycott. Although many churchyards are now full, if you live in the parish of an open churchyard, you are entitled to by buried there.

Hopefully, your loved one will have shared with you whether they would prefer to be cremated or buried. If not, your choice between them will probably be based on a number of different factors.

There is cost to consider as, on average, cremation costs less that burial.

The process of cremation or burial may help you make a decision.

Cremation: The coffin or casket will be brought into the crematorium by pallbearers, who will place it on a raised platform called a catafalque, ready for the committal. Different crematoria will manage the committal in different ways, usually by closing curtains around the coffin, or by lowering it out of sight. Families have the option for the curtains to remain open if they would prefer.

Once the committal has taken place, the coffin will be taken into a committal room where the paperwork will be checked before it is placed into the cremator. The cremation itself takes between 60-90 minutes, after which the ashes are allowed to cool, before being transferred to an urn and stored, ready for collection.

Burial: A burial service usually takes place after the main funeral service. Once the coffin has been lowered into the ground, it is a common tradition to scatter soil onto the coffin. Other people may choose to throw funeral flowers into the grave.

When the ceremony concludes, family and friends place floral tributes near the grave and the gravediggers will fill it in. There are also environmental considerations.

The cremation process inevitably releases gasses into the atmosphere which are not released by the burial process. However, it is important to note that Crematoriums must adhere to stringent standards and processes in order to make the process as environmentally friendly as possible.

There are numerous eco-friendly coffins and caskets available for burial and cremation, from cardboard to wool, bamboo to banana-leaf. These minimise the impact on the environment by using sustainable resources and minimising the amount of wood used.

People are increasingly looking for eco-friendly funeral options such as woodland burials, which minimise the impact on the environment. 

Your loved one’s religious beliefs may influence your decision to choose a cremation or burial for them. Some religions have differing views making either a burial or cremation the default option.

Whether you opt for a cremation or a burial, there is a wide range of memorials available. For burials, which have a dedicated plot allocated to the person, headstones are a common choice. However, memorials such as benches, statues and trees are also increasingly common.

One of the key differences between burial and cremation is that the ashes can be returned to the family following the cremation. With the location of the memorial less tied to a grave, families often opt to scatter ashes in a memorable place. They may also opt to have a cremation memorial or plaque, to plant the ashes along with a memorial tree, or even to use the ashes to create memorial jewellery. Whereas with a burial, families may feel they have a physical place they can go to be close to their loved one. There is no right or wrong, it just depends what feels right for you.

Whatever you decide, we’ll be there to help you organise a service that commemorates your loved one in a way that suits you and your family.

We hope that this printable list will prepare you for the questions you will be asked when you speak to us. This list is intended as a guide only, and you can contact us at any stage for further advice and assistance.

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