2020 State Guide to Scattering Ashes - North Carolina Edition

This fifteenth edition of state guides to scattering ashes focuses on the state of North Carolina. This beautiful state is home to some of the most picturesque mountains and a stunning Eastern coastline. It is one of the original 13 colonies and has many historical sites within the state.

Funeral homes and direct cremation providers in North Carolina and in many surrounding states receive many questions from families related to scattering ashes, including the restrictions associated with it, where in North Carolina people can scatter, and the type of urn that is recommended to scatter a loved one or pet’s ashes. In this state guide we provide you with key information related to storing and scattering ashes in North Carolina.

Regulations in North Carolina for Scattering Ashes

scattering ashes North Carolina

In North Carolina, there are only a few state laws that place restrictions on storing or scattering ashes. Cremated ashes can be placed in a crypt, niche, grave, or at home in an urn. You’re allowed to scatter ashes of a loved one, but be sure to follow existing laws and note the restrictions mentioned below. Also, if the cremated ashes are not claimed within thirty days after a person is cremated, the crematorium or funeral home in North Carolina has the authority to scatter the ashes.

Where to Scatter Ashes in North Carolina?

Many families will choose to scatter a loved one’s ashes at a special meaningful place, or at another outdoors location. Also, having a service with the scattering is something that is becoming more and more common. Such a service can be as formal or as informal as you wish and can occur before, during, or after the scattering is done. This can be a great way to honor a loved one with family and friends present.

There are a number of places in North Carolina where ashes can legally be scattered. Below we describe a some of the more common locations.

  • Private Property – Similar to most other states, in North Carolina there are no existing state laws that prevent you from scattering cremated ashes of a loved one in your yard or on other privately owned property. However, if you plan on scattering ashes on property that’s owned by another person or group, you should reach out and get their permission first.
  • Public Land – North Carolina state laws permit you to scatter cremated ashes on ‘uninhabited public land’. To find out if certain public land where you wish to scatter ashes qualifies as being ‘uninhabited’, you can visit local city or county government offices to find out zoning in that area.
  • National Parks – National Parks are a popular place where families scatter a loved one’s ashes. Most National Parks allow scattering as long as you apply for permission first. Since every park has their own set of rules and regulations, a quick internet search or call to the park ranger’s office can help you get the information you need related to scattering.
  • Scattering Gardens – Scattering gardens are areas on a property that are designated places for scattering ashes. With the growing interest in cremation, many churches, memorial parks, and cemeteries in North Carolina have established scattering gardens on their property. With a quick internet search, you can typically find one or more options in your area.
  • In the Atlantic – With North Carolina’s 300 mile coastline, having the ashes of a loved one scattered at sea is a popular option. Many boating services provide scattering at sea services from North Carolina’s ports and a simple online search can typically find multiple options near you. Before scattering ashes at sea, it’s important to understand that the Federal Clean Water Act requires that ashes are scattered at least 3 nautical miles away from land. In addition, you must let the U.S. EPA know about the scattering within 30 days of having it done.
  • From the Sky – In North Carolina, along with many other states, there are no laws that prevent families from scattering ashes from an airplane. The process of cremation makes the resulting ashes harmless to human health and there are not any issues scattering from the sky.

How You Can Scatter Ashes in North Carolina?

With the growing number of people in North Carolina electing to have their ashes scattered, many new and unique urns have been introduced that are designed for scattering. Below we’ve highlighted some of the more popular urns for scattering offered by funeral homes in North Carolina and other states nationwide.

Scattering Urns

With the growing interest in cremation and scattering, there are many new scattering urns available in North Carolina and throughout the country. Some of the most popular ones include the Eco Water Urn, Eco Scattering Urn and urns made from paper. All of these are TSA approved and are reasonably priced.

Eco Water Urn

The innovative Eco Water Urn has quickly become a leading choice of families nationwide who are interested in doing a water burial with their loved one’s ashes. This patent pending eco-friendly urn floats on top of the water (similar to a buoy) for up to a few minutes time before dissolving and spreading the ashes in the water. It comes packaged in a beautiful bamboo case, which serves as a wonderful way to safely and securely take the urn holding a loved one’s ashes to that special place for the scattering.

Eco Scattering Urn

The patented Eco Scattering Urn is a leading new eco-friendly urn used by families and funeral homes nationwide. It is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable resource and has a long tube-like shape, which helps people scatter ashes away from their body. In addition, this special biodegradable scattering urn has a unique locking mechanism, which gives people the ability to securely transport a loved one’s ashes and also scatter with control and ease.

Paper Scattering Urns

There are many different scattering urns available that are made from paper. These typically have a design printed on the outside, and like the Eco Scattering Urn, these are also shaped like a long tube. These urns come in multiple sizes and are designed for one-time use.

The New Ice Urn

Flow, the Ice Urn is a new patented scattering urn option that was introduced by a large progressive funeral group in Montreal and is now being made available in the U.S. This special urn is made entirely from ice, making it one of the most environmentally-friendly funeral urns available. It floats gracefully on water until it melts and gracefully disperses the ashes.

Multiple Memorials?

As cremation continues to be more and more common, many new and unique memorial options for families who choose cremation have become available. With so many options, many families find that it can be a challenge to only get a single memorial and choose to divide up the ashes of a loved one into more than one memorial. This can include scattering some of the ashes at a meaningful place, then use some or all of the remaining ashes to do a tree burial memorial with The Living Urn, or incorporating them into a decoration made from glass, jewelry that you can wear proudly, or a beautiful stone, among a number of other options.