Spreading a Loved One’s Remains After Cremation

With the significant increase in the number of people choosing to be cremated instead of buried (mainly due to a much lower cost of cremation, among other reasons), many families decide to spread the cremated remains of a loved one. Common places where families do this includes their back or front yard, at a special meaningful place, a vacation destination, or another beautiful outdoors location. Cremated remains are harmless and present no health risks so most areas throughout the country allow you to scatter.

Spreading Cremated Remains: Where to do this?

spreading cremated remains

More and more families throughout the U.S. are choosing to spread the cremated remains of a loved one. Below we highlight some of the most common places where families do this:

At Home – many families will elect to spread a portion or all of their loved one’s cremated remains in their yard at home. This gives many people a sense that their loved one is close and memorialized nearby. Most states allow this, however, it’s always recommended to check with city or county offices to find out if any local regulations exist.

On Public Property – many cities have beautiful parks and other scenic areas that make for great places to spread cremated remains. Most states do not have any state-wide laws that restrict spreading cremated remains on public property, however, it’s always a good idea to check with local city or county offices before you do this to find out if any regulations exist and also avoid spreading cremated remains in crowded areas.

At National Parks – some of the most stunning landscapes in the country are located within our National Parks. If you’re interested in spreading cremated remains in a National Park, it’s always a good idea to reach out to the park ranger’s office where you plan on doing this to find out what restrictions and regulations may exist at that location. Some parks require a permit which can take weeks or even months to obtain, so be sure to plan ahead.

In the Water – many people have a special connection to an ocean or lake, and water burials are becoming more and more common. There are a number of different boating companies that offer this service at ports throughout the country - a quick internet search can typically find one or more options nearby. If this is of interest to you or a family member, it’s good to know that federal law requires that the spreading of cremated remains takes place at least 3 nautical miles from shore and that a biodegradable urn is used (such as the Eco Water Urn). In addition, the EPA requires that they’re notified within 30 days of this occurring.

From the Sky – spreading cremated remains from an airplane is an option that many people are electing to do. There are multiple companies throughout the country that provide this service – a quick internet search can typically find an option near you. Be sure that the aerial spreading of cremated remains is done away from populated areas and whoever performs this holds onto the urn or other container used to spread – federal aviation law prohibits dropping any object from the sky that can potentially harm people or damage property.

How to Spread Cremated Remains?

There are many ways families can spread their loved one’s cremated remains. They can find a container around the home such as a coffee can or butter container and use that to spread the remains, or use an urn that’s specifically designed to spread cremated remains. Below we highlight some of the most common (and affordable!) urns for spreading cremated remains.

Scattering Urns

Eco Scattering Urn

The patented Eco Scattering Urn is made entirely from bamboo, an eco-friendly and sustainable resource. This special biodegradable urn has a long cylinder shape (like a tube), which helps you spread the remains away from your body and helps avoid having them blow back on you. It comes with a proprietary locking mechanism, which secures the cremated remains in the urn during transport and also gives you the ability to easily spread a portion of the cremated remains at one location, then re-secure the remaining remains in the urn to take home, or to travel to another location to scatter. The Eco Scattering Urn comes in 4 sizes – a small for about a quarter of an adult’s remains, a medium for half of the remains, a large for one set of cremated remains and an extra large for multiple sets of cremated remains. Starting at $49, it’s an affordable option for most families.

Paper Scattering Urns

There are a number of urns for spreading cremated remains made from paper. These are available online and at many funeral homes and typically have a nature scene or other design printed on the outside of the urn. Similar to the Eco Scattering Urn, the paper scattering urns have a long tube-like shape to help people spread the cremated remains away from their body. These are typically a lower-cost option to other urns available and come in multiple sizes. One drawback related to the paper urns is that they require an added step of gluing part of the urn together after loading the cremated remains.

Water Urns

Eco Water Urn

The patent pending Eco Water Urn has quickly become one of the leading urns used in water burials nationwide. This special all-natural urn is made entirely from recycled plant materials with only heat and pressure (no glues or chemicals). It floats upright on top of the water (similar to a buoy) for up to a few minutes until the bottom of the urn dissolves and the cremated remains are gracefully spread into the water. This unique biodegradable urn comes packaged in an attractive bamboo protective casing, which can be laser engraved with your loved one’s name and other information. The casing also serves as a great way to securely transport the urn holding your loved one’s cremated remains to that special place to perform the water burial.

Flow, the Ice Urn

A new and highly unique way to spread cremated remains is by using Flow, the Ice Urn. This patented urn consists of a block of ice that gracefully floats on top of the water until it begins to melt and spreads a loved one’s cremated remains. This special ice urn provides for a breathtaking presentation and will soon be available at a funeral home near you!