Cremation Containers

Basic corrugated cremation container.

Here’s a question I get a lot, “What is the body cremated in?” Like other parts of the cremation process, families have choices for a cremation container.

The basic answer is the body is placed in the retort (also known as the cremation chamber) in a fully combustible container large enough and sturdy enough to hold the body. What container is chosen depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Standards set by the crematory
  • How much the family wants to spend
  • Whether there will be a viewing or funeral with the body present prior to the cremation
  • The size of the person

Containers range from traditional caskets to simple cardboard, with other option in between. Non-combustible materials such as metal handles or decorations should be avoided or they must be able to be removed prior to the cremation.

Common containers

The basic purpose of the container is to provide a dignified way to store the body prior to cremation and as it is placed in the retort. Best Cremation Care in California uses cardboard containers for the majority of direct cremations we do. The rigid, corrugated boxes are large enough to hold average size bodies. Because of the materials used, it enables us to keep costs as affordable as possible and avoids having to pass on additional costs to the family.

Sometimes, a simple cardboard container is not an option. Larger sized bodies often require a container made of sturdier material, typically wood. In these situations, the cremation service provider supplies an alternative container and a small additional charge may apply.

Cremation caskets

Some families want to have a funeral service with the body present prior to cremation. Or perhaps the loved one who died specifically wanted a casket. For this, we have cremation caskets. In this arrangement, the body is kept in the same container for the service and cremation. Some of the caskets feature hardware that can be easily removed.

The cremation caskets come in a wide variety of styles, from very simple to very ornate. They are made of wood or other natural materials such as bamboo or wicker and some are covered with fabric.

Rental caskets

Some funeral providers offer rental caskets that are only used for the memorial service. This option, when it’s available, can be more cost-effective and give families a nicer casket to be seen by relatives and friends.

Other options

Alternatives to standard cremation caskets include what are known as “green” caskets, which are made of natural materials that are acceptable for cremation. Arons, which are designed for Jewish funerals, are caskets made entirely of wood, and therefore can be cremated.

Responsible, reputable cremation service providers will openly discuss your options with you and not try to “push” you toward more expensive choices. As the purchaser, the choice is yours so knowing your options is the best way to make an informed decision.

Best Cremation Care provides affordable cremation services throughout the Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland / Alameda, and San Jose / Santa Clara) and Southern California (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and San Diego County). We are a licensed funeral establishment and have an A+rating from the Better Business Bureau.

About Jane Bennett

Jane LaGrega is a licensed funeral director and embalmer with over 20 years of experience. A Long Island, New York native, she attended mortuary school in Miami, Florida and also holds a Bachelor's in Business Administration. She also proudly served our country and is a US Navy veteran. Jane is passionate about her profession and enjoys helping families through the difficult process of making final arrangements for their loved one.

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