2020 State Guide to Scattering Ashes - Iowa Edition

This thirtieth edition of state-by-state guides to scattering ashes focuses on the state of Iowa. This unique state is home to many beautiful rivers and lakes, stunning waterfalls, amazing countryside landscapes, and thriving communities.

In this comprehensive guide we highlight key information about scattering ashes in Iowa with the goal of helping families learn about where they can scatter ashes in the state, what restrictions may be in place, and which urns are recommended to be used to scatter ashes.

Rules in Iowa for Scattering Ashes

scatter ashes Iowa

The Administrative Code in the state of Iowa states that scattering ashes is subject to any applicable local ordinances or cemetery rules. The state law also prohibits you from scattering ashes on public property or on private property without permission from the property owner. 

Through the cremation process, the resulting ashes are harmless and do not present any health risks. In Iowa, you can keep the ashes of a loved one in a niche, crypt, grave, urn, or any other container you prefer.

Where to Scatter Ashes in Iowa?

Many families will opt to scatter a loved one or pet’s ashes at a meaningful place, or a beautiful location. In addition, a number of families are now choosing to have a service or celebration in combination with a scattering.  This can be a great time to be with family and friends, share stories, and reflect on a loved one who passed. Many times, all who attend will also be given the opportunity to participate in the scattering.

In Iowa, there are many amazing places people scatter ashes. Below we highlight a few of the more popular ones.

  • Private Property – Iowa state law allows for scattering ashes on property that you own. If you plan on scattering your loved one’s ashes on private property owned by someone else, you need to get their permission first.
  • Scattering Gardens – With more and more people in Iowa being cremated and also choosing to be scattered, many churches and cemeteries throughout the state now have designated areas on their grounds where families can scatter ashes. These are commonly referred to as scattering gardens, and a quick internet search can typically find one or more in your area.
  • Aerial Scattering  – No state laws exist in Iowa that restrict families from scattering their loved one’s ashes from an airplane. Ashes are harmless and pose no health risks. However, it’s important that whoever performs the scattering holds onto the urn used to scatter - federal aviation law restricts dropping anything from the sky that can potentially harm people or damage property.
  • Water Burial – Many people throughout the U.S. love the water and prefer to have a water burial for their memorial. The Federal Clean Water Act states that the scattering needs to be performed at least 3 nautical miles from shore. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency needs to be given notice within thirty days of a scattering taking place in a body of water.

How to Scatter Ashes?

With the significant increase in the amount of people choosing to be cremated (mainly due to lower cremation costs vs. burial and families who are less traditional), many new urns and memorials have recently been introduced. This includes urns designed for scattering ashes that are shaped similar to a long cylinder or tube. This special shape gives you the ability to easily scatter the ashes away from your body.

Below we provide information on a few of the most popular urns for scattering offered by leading funeral homes in Iowa and throughout the country.

Eco Scattering Urn

The patented Eco Scattering Urn is a leading new urn offered by top funeral homes in Iowa and other leading funeral groups nationwide. This unique and attractive urn is made entirely from bamboo, a fast-growing sustainable resource, and is highly functional. It has a proprietary open and close locking mechanism on top that secures the ashes in the urn while you travel to that special location to scatter and gives families the ability to scatter with ease and control. The Eco Scattering Urn comes in four sizes and, starting at $49, is an affordable option for most families.

Paper Scattering Urns

Scattering urns made from paper are another option that are commonly used. These are typically a lower cost option to other urns and come with a nature scene or other image printed on the outside of the urn. However, these come with a few drawbacks – it isn’t advised to use them during weather events as it can effect the integrity of the urn and there is an added step where you need to glue a piece of the urn together while loading the ashes.

Water Urns

Many people have a special connection to the water, and therefore, water burials are a common memorial option performed throughout the U.S. One of the most popular urns used in water burials is the Eco Water Urn. This patent pending biodegradable urn has quickly become a leading choice of funeral homes throughout the country. It is made entirely from recycled plant materials only with pressure and heat (no chemicals or glues). The urn floats in the water like a buoy for up to a few minutes until the bottom of the urn dissolves and the ashes are gracefully scattered. This unique urn is shipped in an attractive bamboo case, a perfect protective cover to transport the urn holding your loved one’s ashes to that special place in the water to scatter.

Multiple Memorials

As more people continue to choose cremation in Iowa and in many other states, a number of new memorial options have recently become available. With so many great options, many families find it challenging to select a single memorial, and instead, choose to divide up their loved one’s ashes into multiple memorials. This can include scattering a portion of the ashes at a special meaningful place and using the remaining ashes in The Living Urn bio urn to grow a beautiful tree memorial, or including them in an indoor colorful glass decorative piece, a stunning stone, or a piece of jewelry, among a number of other uplifting 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.