This forty-sixth edition of state guides to scattering ashes focuses on the state of Delaware. This beautiful state is home to a stunning coastline, impressive flowing rivers, and thriving communities.
With the increasing number of people opting for cremation instead of burial (mainly due to a much lower cost of cremation and families that are less traditional), funeral homes in Delaware and surrounding states are frequently contacted by families with questions involving cremation and scattering ashes. Some common questions include, whether or not scattering is allowed in Delaware, where in Delaware can they scatter, and what type of urn or container do they suggest to use to scatter ashes?
In this edition of our state-by-state guides, we highlight important information about scattering and storing ashes in Delaware to help answer these common questions and many others.
Regulations in Delaware for Storing and Scattering Ashes
State law in Delaware stipulates that cremated remains (ashes) may be “disposed of in such a way as is desired by the person receiving them”. Ashes can be kept in a niche, crypt, grave, urn, or any other container you decide upon. The resulting ashes from cremation are harmless and do not present any health risks.
If you plan on scattering ashes in Delaware, there are no state-wide laws that restrict this and there are almost endless options where this can be done. Just be sure to check with city or county offices where you plan on scattering to find out if any local restrictions or regulations exist.
Where to Scatter Ashes in Delaware?
Many people in Delaware will choose to scatter a loved one’s ashes at a special place that has meaning to them or their family, a favorite vacation destination, or at another beautiful location.
There are almost endless locations in Delaware where you can scatter ashes and below we provide information on some of the most popular ones.
- Water Burial – With Delaware’s beautiful coastline, scattering ashes of a loved one (or pet) is common in the state. Many boating companies in the area offer sea burial services and with a simple internet search you can most likely find one or more options near you. However, before doing this, it’s important to know that the U.S. Federal Clean Water Act stipulates that cremated ashes need to be scattered at a minimum of three nautical miles away from shore. In addition, the U.S. EPA requires that they’re given notice within 30 days of a water burial occurring.
- Scattering Gardens – With the growing number of people in Delaware and elsewhere choosing cremation, many churches and cemeteries in the state are establishing scattering gardens. These are areas on their property that have been designated as places where families can scatter a loved one’s ashes. If this is of interest to you, reach out to your local church or funeral director, or do a quick online search to find one near you.
- Private Property – In Delaware, along with most other states, there are no state laws that prohibit you from scattering ashes in your yard or on other property you own. However, if you’re interested in scattering on private property owned by someone else, it’s recommended to get their permission in writing beforehand.
- Public Land – Before scattering on public land in Delaware, you should check with county or city government offices to find out if any local restrictions or regulations are in place.
- National Parks – Our National Parks have some of the most stunning landscapes in the county and are common places where people are interested in scattering ashes. If this is of interest to you, keep in mind that every National Park has its own set of rules and regulations related to scattering ashes. So, prior to planning a scattering event, it’s a good idea to contact the park ranger’s office where you’re interested in scattering to find out if it’s permitted there and what rules or regulations may be in place.
- Aerial Scattering – In Delaware, as with most other states, no state laws exist that restrict you from scattering ashes from an airplane. While ashes are fine to be dropped from the sky, be sure to avoid crowded areas and do not let go of the urn or other container used to scatter - federal aviation law prohibits dropping anything that can potentially damage property or harm people.
How to Scatter Ashes?
With more and more people electing to be cremated and then have their ashes scattered, many new urns and uplifting memorials have recently been made available. This includes scattering urns that make it easy on families to scatter a loved one’s ashes. Below we describe a few of the more common scattering urns used in Delaware and surrounding states.
Eco Water Urn
The biodegradable Eco Water Urn is a new urn that has quickly become a leading choice of funeral homes for water burial services. This patent pending urn floats on top of the water for a short period of time, then the bottom of the urn breaks open and frees the ashes into the water. It comes packaged in a protective bamboo case that can be engraved with your loved one’s information and a symbol of choice, all for a reasonable cost. This special case also serves as a protective cover to safely transport the urn holding your loved one’s ashes to a place of your choice on the water to perform the scattering.
Eco Scattering Urn
The patented Eco Scattering Urn is a leading urn designed to scatter that’s offered by thousands of funeral homes throughout the country. This biodegradable urn is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable resource that’s one of the strongest building materials available! It has a long cylinder shape, which helps the person scattering do so away from their body. The Eco Scattering Urn has a unique open and close locking mechanism which helps secure the ashes in the urn while traveling to that special place (or places) to scatter and also gives people the ability to scatter with control and ease.
Paper Scattering Urns
There many different scattering urns available that are manufactured from paper. These can typically be found with a nature scene or other image or symbol printed on the outside of the urn. Like the Eco Scattering Urn highlighted above, the paper scattering urns also have a long cylinder shape, helping people scatter ashes away from their body. These are typically a lower-cost option to other urns available and come in multiple sizes.
Flow, the Ice Urn
Flow, the Ice Urn is a special patented urn that has been awarded multiple prestigious European design awards. It is made entirely from ice, and therefore, is arguably one of the most environmentally-friendly urns available. This stunning urn floats on the water for a short period of time, until it begins to melt and slowly sinks, gracefully spreading a loved one’s ashes in the water. Flow, the Ice Urn is available in select markets nationwide and is expected to be offered by funeral homes in Delaware and surrounding states later this year.
Many new urns and uplifting memorials have recently been introduced to cater to the increasing amount of people choosing cremation. With so many wonderful new options, a growing number of people are choosing to divide up their loved one’s ashes into multiple memorials. This commonly includes using a portion of the ashes in more than one of the following options:
- Scattering some of ashes at a special place (or multiple places);
- Including them in The Living Urn’s bio urn to grow a tree memorial;
- Having them infused in a colorful glass decoration; or
- Including them in a beautiful stone or piece of jewelry, among many other options.