GALLERY: Tweed funeral trends
CREMATIONS and cardboard coffins are increasing in popularity on the Tweed as we look for more affordable ways to lay our loved ones to rest.
Since the 2012 financial year, burials at the Tweed Valley Lawn Cemetery in Duranbah have fallen about 20%, while in only two years of operation, demand at the cemetery's new crematorium has grown 60%.
Third-generation funeral director Ben Little, of Dolphin Funerals at Murwillumbah, said the trend was the result of affordability.
A cardboard casket costs anywhere from $450 and is half the price of a regular fibreboard coffin, while cremation is also cheaper at about $550.
A cultural shift away from religion has also contributed to trends in the style of memorial services.
"As society becomes more secular, the venues become more secular as well."
Mr Little has pioneered a "stump service" at the Tweed Valley Lawn Cemetery, where a coffin is laid on a tailor tree stump near a lake for a memorial.
At Melaleuca Station Memorial Gardens on Tweed Valley Way at Chinderah, cremations have "steadily increased" to about 600 annually, according to manager Philip Willsallen.
"There is not that drawcard to stay where you were necessarily born," he said.
"When people have a cremation they can then take the ashes away and scatter them."
Mr Willsallen also said the cost of local graves had gone up by 20% in the past five years.
Melaleuca, which has been operating for six years, offers onsite wakes at Reflections Cafe, licensed for up to 120 people.
McGuiness Funerals at Murwillumbah manager Wayne Schulz, who has been in the industry for 46years, said religious tradition was still the most important factor when choosing a send-off at McGuiness.
They don't advertise a price and said they cater based on the individual needs of all denominations.
"Economic trends do not necessarily push people to grieve properly," Mr Schulz said.
"(It) is a necessity and with direct cremations people don't often get the opportunity to say goodbye."
Funeral service providers all said prepaid packages were now a popular option.
How much will it cost?
Tweed Valley Crematorium:
- Cremation $515
- Grave $5409
- Family memorial tree $3604
- Cremation $750
- Garden border site for ashes $350
- Rose garden terrace $2250
- Family tree estate $120,000
- Cremation, transport capsule $1903
- Cremation, church or home service, viewing (basic coffin) $4961
- Children - at cost
- Alexandrine MDF luxurious coffin $1795 plus $145 delivery
- Ceramic urn, $149
Funeral notice: $100-$300
Biodegradable urn: $65
Ceramic, bamboo urns: $150+