Burial or cremation: how to decide what’s best

May 25, 2022 

When you start thinking about putting your funeral plan in place, one of the first things to think about is what type of funeral you’d prefer – a burial or cremation. But how do you know what’s right for you? 

We’ve put together a guide below that will give you the information you need to make a decision.

Which is more popular – a burial or cremation? 

According to the Cost of Dying Report 2022, from 2020 – 2021 the most popular funeral choice was a cremation (46%), then a burial (27%) followed by direct cremations (24%). 

How much does a funeral cost? 

The cost of a cremation or burial can differ throughout the UK, although a cremation is usually slightly less than a burial. The average cost of a cremation is £3,765, while a burial is £4,927*. 

How much a funeral costs depends on where you live in the UK, with London being the most expensive place to die. The cost of a funeral is also dependent on the type of arrangements that you make – the venue, flowers, transport and wake. As these are very personal elements and it’s up to you to choose how much or little you’d like to spend.

Direct cremation 

A direct cremation takes place without a service beforehand and without any mourners present. Direct cremations are the most affordable funeral option as they allow you to save money on funeral costs, offer a simple option for a service and let loved ones celebrate your life in a way that’s personal. 

At One Life, we offer a direct cremation service from £1,495**. We want you to have a funeral that’s exactly what you want, which is why our team will listen to your wishes and support you to put your plan in place. You’ll get 24/7 arrangement service, respectful high-quality care, the return of ashes (at no extra cost) and be covered by our unique 60 Day Promise

Find out more about our funeral plans 

Which is better for the environment – a burial or cremation? 

If you want your funeral to be environmentally friendly, there’s a few things for you to consider: 

  • Type of funeral 
  • How many mourners are attending 
  • The distance of travel 
  • Clothes the person who has passed will be wearing 
  • Where the flowers have come from 
  • The type of coffin 
  • Food at the wake

Cremations and their impact on the environment 

When someone is cremated, the process releases gases into the atmosphere which the burial process doesn’t. Crematoriums do have to adhere to stringent standards and processes that make it as environmentally friendly as possible. The cremation process also requires a lot of fuel. 

Burials and their impact on the environment 

Although there are no gases released during the burial process, there is an environmental impact if someone is embalmed. The chemicals that are used in embalming are toxic. 

When a body is buried, these chemicals can leach out into the surrounding area. However embalming is not a requirement and you can be buried without this. 

How can I make my funeral as environmentally friendly as possible? 

  • Choose a biodegradable coffin. This could be cardboard, bamboo pine, willow, British wool or even banana leaf 
  • Choosing not to have a headstone 
  • Planting a tree as a memorial 
  • Organising minimal vehicles for the funeral guests 
  • Choosing to wear eco-friendly clothing 
  • Opting for local suppliers to organise the food 
  • You could ask for donations towards charities that are working to look after our planet

Choosing between a burial or cremation 

Ultimately the choice between a burial, cremation or direct cremation is down to what you want. A funeral is personal and celebrates your life, so it should reflect your individuality. 

Cremations can be more flexible and affordable than a burial as you have the option to choose whether you’d like a service at the crematorium or at a different more personal location. Whereas, with a burial, your family will have somewhere that they know they can always go to visit you. 

Remember to take time to think about your options and what is best for you and your loved ones.

Planning your funeral with One Life 

At One Life we’re here to support you to put your personal prepaid funeral plan in place. We’ll listen to your needs and wishes, giving you time to make a choice that’s exactly what you want. 

We believe that being prepared for your end of life is one of the most helpful things you can do. That’s why we offer a range of burial, cremation or direct cremation plans. 

Put your One Life prepaid funeral plan in place from £1,495 or £22.19 a month**. Get in touch with our friendly team today 

Find out more about our other later-life services 

*The statistics in this article are from The Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2022. 

**£1495 is the cost of a direct cremation including the £200 discount. £22.19 a month is based on a direct cremation paid over 120 months. Payment plans over 12 months incur a 2.88% instalment fee per annum.

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