More Wisconsinites Choosing Cremation Over Burials

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

You may be more likely to be cremated than buried, if you're part of a new trend.

According to a state report, for the first time cremations are slightly more popular than burials in Wisconsin.

Greg Zoromski, the owner and funeral director of Peterson Kramer Funeral Homes and Crematory in Wausau, says cremation is becoming more popular, though not as much as in other parts of the state.

"There's a definite upswing in cremation for the last 4 or 5 years we've probably been running close to 25 - 30 percent maybe a little bit over 30 percent cremation," he said.

The cost difference between a traditional funeral with ground burial and direct cremation is substantial, about $8,000 for the former and $2,000 for the latter.

Some people are hoping to spend less money and avoid cemetery related fees, but a cremation can be surprisingly costly.

Zoromski says because tradition is important to people in the area, they're choosing services with cremation, which can include burying remains or embalming a body and having it present. Those additions mean a higher cost.

"Tradition plays a big role in funeral service and here in Central Wisconsin people tend to very, very traditional on the way they honor their loved ones at the time of death," Zoromski said.

Though cremations have been growing in popularity over many years, the upswing has been particularly noticeable since the recession.

Along with cost, some choose cremation because its perceived as greener. Zoromski says there are carbon emissions during the process, and there's an even greener process on the horizon.

It's called alkaline hydrolysis, but it doesn't yet have a legal definition in Wisconsin.

"It is basically reducing the body to its basic elements through dissolving the body with certain type of natural elements in a water solution," he said.

However, it could be awhile before that becomes any sort of tradition.


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