Direct cremation is the disposition of human remains by cremation, without a visitation, or memorial ceremony with a viewing or closed casket. The primary difference with a direct cremation is that the body is not present at the funeral.
In cremation, the body of the deceased is placed in a heated chamber of up to 2,100 degree Fahrenheit until only the bones remain. There are, however, two types of cremation to consider when planning a funeral. In the classic cremation, the body is embalmed and present at the visitation and funeral service. The family may chose to have the casket closed or open for viewing. Like the traditional funeral, the body will be positioned in a casket made of combustible materials appropriate for burning. After the funeral service has been held, the body—together with the casket—will be brought to the crematory for cremation. Because there are funeral services included, the classic cremation is more expensive when compared to direct cremation.
In the process of direct cremation, the deceased will be transported to the funeral home, where the remains may or may not be cleaned and sanitized. The body will not be embalmed and will not receive hair care or makeup application. The body is then cremated, and the ashes are placed in a cremation urn. The body only stays at the funeral home until such time that a cremation permit and death certificate are given. Meanwhile, there are no funeral or visitation ceremonies included with the body present. However, a memorial service may take place before or at the end of the cremation service, with or without the remains.
Direct cremation is a popular alternative because it is less expensive than a traditional funeral and burial. When compared to a burial, cremation saves the cost of a burial plot and vault. It also reduces the other expenses associated with the burial, such as flowers, transportation, and so on. A direct cremation also has a few financial benefits over a standard cremation. A direct cremation only requires an inexpensive wood box for the cremation. With a standard cremation, the family is required to purchase a casket and pay to have the body embalmed, which can be expensive.
Direct cremation has also increased in popularity due to the environmental benefits. By not embalming the body, less harmful chemicals are released into the atmosphere. Furthermore, because a direct cremation uses less funeral products it is considered “greener” and has less of a negative impact on the environment.
If the cost of the funeral is important to you, direct cremation should be considered when planning a funeral.
Updated: May 13, 2013