2020 State Guide to Scattering Ashes - Illinois Edition

Learn About Ash Scattering Services

This seventeenth edition of comprehensive guides to scattering ashes is focused on the state of Illinois, the ‘Land of Lincoln’. This amazing state is home to stunning rivers and lakes, beautiful plains, great food, and the dynamic city of Chicago!

In Illinois and most other states throughout the country, more and more people are choosing to be cremated after they pass and have their ashes scattered by family or friends. In line with this growing trend, funeral directors throughout Illinois are frequently asked many questions about scattering ashes. This includes whether or not they are allowed to scatter, where this can be done in Illinois, and what urn or container should be used to scatter? In this state guide we provide key information that answers these questions and many others.

Regulations in Illinois for Scattering Ashes

scatter ashes illinois

According to Illinois state law, you may store ashes in a grave, crypt, or niche. If you want to scatter ashes, this can be done in a legally established area for scattering (like a scattering garden in a cemetery), or “in any manner whatever on the private property of a consenting owner”. Always use common sense when scattering and be respectful to others - avoid scattering near crowds or where many people congregate. Also, it’s important to note that the process of cremation makes ashes harmless and they don’t pose a health threat.

Where to Scatter Ashes in Illinois?

Many people want to be scattered at a place that has special meaning to them or their family, or at another beautiful location outdoors. In Illinois, there are many great locations to be scattered – below we’ve highlighted a few of the more popular ones.

  • Scattering Gardens  As mentioned above, Illinois state law permits scattering ashes in a scattering garden. These are legally designated areas of a cemetery, memorial park, church, or other facility. With the increase in the amount of people being cremated, more and more scattering gardens are opening up in Illinois. A quick internet search can most likely find one or multiple locations near you.
  • Private Property – Similar to most other states, in Illinois you’re allowed to scatter a loved one’s ashes on property you own. If you prefer to scatter ashes on private property that is owned by another person or organization, be sure to get their permission first.
  • Public Land – If you want to scatter ashes on public land, it’s important to check with your local city or county government offices to find out if it’s permitted and if any regulations exist.
  • National Parks – Many people throughout the country want to be scattered in a National Park. As every National Park has their own rules and regulations related to scattering, it’s important to check with the park ranger’s office where you want to scatter to learn if it’s possible and what permits or other requirements may need to be met.
  • Water Burial – Scattering in water (commonly referred to as a ‘water burial’) is an option that’s growing in popularity nationwide. U.S. federal law requires that any ash scattering in water is performed at least 3 nautical miles from shore. In addition, the EPA needs to be notified of a water burial within 30 days of it being done.
  • From the Sky  In Illinois, along with most other states, there are no state laws that prohibit scattering cremated ashes from an airplane. However, it’s important that the urn or other container used to scatter from a plane is not dropped – federal aviation law prohibits dropping items from the sky that could potentially cause harm to people or property.

How to Scatter Ashes in Illinois?

With the significant increase in people choosing to be cremated (mainly due to a lower cremation cost versus burial and families being less traditional) and an increase in people electing to have their ashes scattered, many new urns have recently been introduced that are designed to scatter. These new ‘scattering urns’ are typically shaped like a long cylinder or tube, which helps families scatter a loved one’s ashes away from their body and also helps prevent having the ashes fall back on them.

Below we highlight a few of the more popular scattering urns used by people in Illinois and other states.

Scattering Urns

The Eco Scattering Urn, scattering urns made from paper, and the Eco Water Urn are some of the most popular urns used to scatter ashes. All of these urns are biodegradable, offered at reasonable prices, and are TSA approved.

Eco Scattering Urn

The patented Eco Scattering Urn is a leading urn designed to scatter, offered by thousands of funeral homes throughout the U.S. and worldwide. It is made from bamboo, a sustainable resource that’s one of the strongest building materials available. This special urn comes with a proprietary locking mechanism, which gives people the ability to secure a loved one’s cremated ashes in the urn while traveling to a special location to scatter. It also makes it easy to scatter some of the ashes at one location, then re-secure remaining ashes in the urn to scatter at one or more other locations (or take home).

Scattering Urns Made from Paper

If you’re looking for a lower cost scattering urn, there are many available that are manufactured from paper. These typically have an outdoor scene printed on the urn and can be found online. The paper urns aren’t as sturdy as the bamboo Eco Scattering Urn, however are functional and have been used by thousands of people.

Eco Water Urn

The patent pending Eco Water Urn is a leading biodegradable urn that’s used in water burials nationwide. This eco-friendly urn is constructed from recycled plant materials with heat and pressure (no glues or chemicals). It is designed to float for up to a few minutes until it dissolves and gracefully releases the ashes into the water. This special urn is packaged in an attractive bamboo cylinder case, a secure cover to protect the urn while traveling to a location on the water.

More Than One Memorial

With the growing number of people in Illinois and throughout the country choosing to be cremated, many new urns and uplifting memorials have recently been introduced. With so many great options, many families find it challenging to choose a single memorial and are electing to divide up their loved one’s ashes and have multiple memorials in their honor. This can include scattering some of the cremated ashes and then having the remaining ashes placed in a Living Urn for a tree burial, infused into a colorful glass decorative piece, or placed in jewelry, among other options.

More About Cremation and Ashes

If you're interested in learning more about cremation and the cost breakdown of what products or services can be included, click here.