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Urns and Caskets
A casket is the box that is used to transport and bury the deceased. They come in a wide variety of styles, sizes and finishes, so it is important to educate yourself before making a purchasing decision.
Caskets for Traditional Full Service Funerals
Most caskets are made of metal or wood, but fiberboard, fiberglass and plastic are also available.
Metal caskets are made of bronze, copper, or steel. Wood caskets are available in both hard and soft woods. Wood coffins with natural dowels are used in Jewish funerals to avoid interference with the natural process of returning to the earth.
There is now emerging interest in eco-friendly coffins. They are manufactured of purely natural materials like willow, sea grass, bamboo, and naturally hardened recycled paper and are fully biodegradable.
Choosing a casket is often a matter of budget. Funeral directors are required to show you a list of caskets they sell, with descriptions and prices, before showing you the caskets themselves. You can also buy a casket from a third-party dealer and have it shipped directly to the funeral home. The Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to agree to use a casket you bought elsewhere, and doesn’t allow them to charge you a fee for using it. You can even purchase a kit to build one yourself.
If you choose cremation for your loved one, you can rent a casket from the funeral home for the visitation and funeral and eliminate the cost of purchasing one. These caskets have a removable bed and liner which is replaced after each use. There are also rental caskets with an outer shell that looks like a traditional coffin and a cardboard box that fits inside the shell that can be used in the cremation later. If you opt for direct cremation and do not show the body, the funeral provider must provide an inexpensive unfinished wood box or alternative container of pressboard, cardboard or canvas that is cremated with the body.