This brief article shares facts about the cremation process.  Most bodies that are cremated are placed in something combustible.  Typical cremation containers include heavy cardboard trays, cardboard or wood caskets, or canvas body bags.

Only 15 percent of cremations include the use of a casket.  This means nearly 85 percent of cremations take place using a less expensive cardboard container or canvas bag.

Cremation process

The typical cremation process takes somewhere between one and two hours to complete.  The actual time varies in proportion to the size of the deceased, with larger bodies taking slightly longer to cremate.

Cremation heats the body and container at a high enough temperature to reduce all contents to cremains.  "Cremains" is the technical term for "ashes."  A normal adult body yields between five and seven pounds of cremains, enough to fill a 12"X 4" container.

Cremains are generally gray in color and have a consistency similar to playground sand or fine gravel.  From an environmental standpoint, cremains are sterile and non-polluting.

Most funeral homes return cremated remains in a small cardboard box fitted with a plastic-bag liner.  Sometimes the funeral home will stamp the word "temporary" on the box in an effort to sell the family a more permanent - and expensive - urn.  However, you do not need to purchase an urn because any container, including the simple cardboard box, is sufficient for storage purposes.

If you would like to save money the next time you need to make funeral arrangements, you can search and compare local funeral home pricing at

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