This is the sixth edition of state-by-state rules and regulations related to scattering ashes of a loved one and focuses on the beautiful state of Georgia. We will be releasing additional state guides over the next few weeks so check back to learn more!
As one of the leading providers of scattering urns and memorials, we receive frequent questions about rules for scattering cremated ashes of a loved one or pet in the yard at home, on private property, in parks, and in the ocean, among many other places. In this guide, we highlight important information related to storing and scattering ashes in the state of Georgia and the bordering Atlantic Ocean so you can memorialize a loved one in a safe, legal, and respectful way.
Rules for Scattering Ashes in Georgia
In Georgia, there are very few state laws that restrict where you can store or scatter ashes of a person or pet. Cremated ashes can legally be kept in a crypt, grave, or urn at home. If the decision is made to scatter the ashes, there are many great options available for you in Georgia. The cremation process makes it so human and pet ashes are harmless and there are no health risks when handling ashes or scattering.
Even though the state of Georgia has very few laws related to scattering ashes, some cities and counties within Georgia may have their own regulations and it’s always advised to check with the local government office where you plan on scattering. In addition, each National Park has their own rules so check with the park ranger’s office first before scattering there. Always use common sense when selecting a location for the scattering so that you’re respectful of others.
Also, it’s important to note that Georgia state law (Georgia code 31-10-20) requires a funeral director to get a permit before cremating a body or transporting it out of state. This is typically a straightforward process that can be done in a short amount of time.
Locations to Scatter Ashes in Georgia
After the passing of a loved one or pet, many families choose to scatter their ashes at a place special to them or a beautiful outdoor location. Many families also choose to hold a memorial service before, during, or after the scattering – this can be a memorable event and a great time to reflect on a loved one with family and friends present.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the most common locations where people scatter ashes in Georgia:
- Private Land - in Georgia, along with many other states, you’re permitted to scatter a loved one’s ashes on private property that you own or on the private property of somebody else with their permission.
- Scattering Gardens - many churches and cemeteries throughout Georgia are starting to designate a special location on their property for scattering ashes (commonly referred to as a ‘scattering garden’). If this is of interest to you and your family, you can typically do a quick internet search to find a scattering garden near you.
- Public Land - Georgia has many beautiful scenic areas, including but not limited to the 100 miles of picturesque coastline, its unmatched waterfalls, and many beautiful parks and nature preserves. It’s always recommended to check if any local city or county regulations exist (and get permission when needed) before scattering cremated ashes on public land in Georgia.
- Federal Land – Regulations related to scattering cremated ashes in National Parks or on other federal land can typically be found with a quick internet search and many of the National Parks do allow scattering in designated areas and with a permit. It is always advised to perform a scattering away from hiking trails and roads.
- At Sea – With Georgia’s beautiful coastline, scattering ashes at sea is a popular option for families and there are many boating companies that offer this service. If this is something you’re interested in, just a few things to keep in mind – Georgia state law requires that ashes are scattered at sea within 50 days of a cremation and that a statement is filed with the local health department that includes the name of the deceased. In addition, both Georgia and federal law requires that ashes are scattered at least 3 nautical miles from shore and you need to inform the U.S. EPA within 30 days of doing a scattering at sea.
- By Air – As with many other states, there are no Georgia state laws related to scattering ashes from the air (by airplane, helicopter, etc.). However, federal aviation laws prohibit dropping any objects from the air that can potentially harm people or damage property (i.e. an urn or other container). Ashes are considered harmless and are okay to be released from the air.
What Do You Use to Scatter Ashes?
With the significant increase in the amount of people choosing cremation and growing interest in scattering ashes, many new urns and memorial options have recently been developed for this purpose. Some of the more popular ones are highlighted below:
Eco Scattering Urns
The patented Eco Scattering Urn is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable fast-growing resource. This beautiful scattering urn is affordable and makes for a dignified memorial for a loved one. In addition, its proprietary open and close mechanism on top of the urn gives you the ability to securely transport your loved one’s ashes and also scatter with control and ease. This feature also gives families the option to scatter some of the ashes at a special place, then re-secure the remaining ashes in the urn to scatter at another location, or to take home. In addition, the Eco Scattering Urns can be engraved with your loved one’s name, a saying, dates, and a symbol of choice – all for a reasonable price.
Scattering Urns Made from Paper
There many scattering urns on the market that are made from paper and have a scene or other design printed on the outside. These urns (or tubes) are fairly easy to use and affordable. However, there are some potential drawbacks. One is that the urns can break down in certain weather events and it’s always best to keep them as dry as possible. Another drawback is that these are not designed to re-secure some of the ashes back in the urn if you plan on scattering at multiple locations or taking some home with you.
Eco Water Urn
With its beautiful coastline, water burials are growing in popularity in Georgia. The patent pending Eco Water Urn is a relatively new product that has quickly become the leading water urn of choice for funeral homes nationwide. This unique biodegradable urn is made from recycled plant materials and floats upright (like a buoy), before it gracefully disperses the cremated ashes from the bottom of the urn and into the water. The Eco Water Urn comes packaged in an attractive bamboo cylindrical case, which helps to safely transport the urn to that special place in the ocean and also makes for a great decorative piece in ceremonies.
With so many memorial options now available for people who choose to be cremated, many families will elect to have multiple memorials for a loved one. This can include scattering a portion of the ashes at a special place and using the remaining ashes to be included in a tree burial with The Living Urn, in jewelry or a gemstone, or have them infused in a glass decorative piece that you can keep in the home.