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Cremation 101

What Happens To The Remains (Cremains)?

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The cremated remains (called ashes or cremains) are placed in an urn or other container. No viewing or visitation is involved. A memorial service may be held, with or without the cremated remains present.

The remains can be:

  • Kept at home.
  • Buried.
  • Placed in a crypt or niche in a cemetery.
  • Buried or scattered in a favorite spot or spots.
    • There are companies which help people scatter ashes legally on land and sea and by getting permissions and permits. For example, International Scattering Society which will even take ashes to a distant location such as a mountain-top or a foreign country.
    • Many families choose what the industry refers to as "wildcat scatterings" - scattering the ashes without consent. 
    • Scientists agree that there is no health or environmental hazard from the spread of human ashes. With wind and rain, cremains typically melt into the soil within days. 

If ashes will be transported on a commercial airplane, the container must pass through an scanning machine so screeners can see what is inside. Urns should be made of plastic or wood for this purpose. Scanners are not allowed to open crematory containers.

In case it's of interest, cremains can now be pressed into a man-made diamond. For more information, offsite link.

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