How to Dispose of Cremation Ashes

by William McCoy

When a loved one dies and wishes to be cremated, you have to determine how to deal with the ashes. Ideally, the person will have made his wishes known before his passing, but you might have the make the decision yourself. In this case, thinking about what the person would have liked should be the major factor in your decision.

Traditional Methods

It's customary to scatter ashes in a location the deceased family member enjoyed visiting. Think of the places this loved one found serene, such as a favorite fishing spot, a camping area or flower garden. Other locations include on a golf course, an athletic field in the community, a beach or park that held a special meaning. Get together with the deceased's family and friends and scatter the ashes in a respectful manner.

Untraditional Methods

If the deceased lived in a larger-than-life way, a few untraditional methods of dealing with the ashes may honor her. Speak with a fireworks company to have the ashes loaded into a customized piece of fireworks. Set it off at a family function and your loved one will truly "leave with a bang." Other ideas include visiting a company that can turn ashes into diamond jewelry or mix them with concrete to form a reef to place in the ocean.

Methods at Home

For many people, keeping the ashes of a deceased love one close to home provides a feeling of comfort. Although you can keep the ashes in an urn in a cabinet or on the mantel, other options are viable. You could rake them into the lawn, dig a small trough in your garden and mixing them with the earth, shake them into a backyard pond or dig a hole and bury the ashes in a biodegradable urn.

Legality Issues

If you plan to scatter the ashes in a public location, seek permission from the management or local government. National parks, for example, require you to have a a permit before you scatter ashes. Even with a permit, you should scatter the ashes in an area away from paths and roads. If you wish to dispose of them at sea, the Environmental Protection Agency asks you be at least 3 miles from shore. Many public areas, such as Disneyland, prohibit scattering ashes.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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