This tenth edition of state guides to storing and scattering ashes focuses on Pennsylvania. This beautiful state has is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country with breathtaking scenic views, amazing natural wonders, lush forests, and picturesque waterfalls. One of the 13 original colonies, Pennsylvania is home to some of the most important events in U.S. history.
Funeral directors throughout Pennsylvania frequently receive questions related to scattering the ashes of a loved one or pet. In this state guide we provide helpful insights and other information related to storing and scattering ashes in Pennsylvania.
Rules Related to Scattering Ashes in Pennsylvania
There are no state laws in Pennsylvania that restrict you from storing or scattering a person or pet’s ashes. However, depending on where you plan on scattering, it’s recommended to check with the local city or county offices there to see if there are any local restrictions.
As for storing ashes in Pennsylvania, they can be kept in a grave, crypt, urn, or other container. The cremation process makes it so cremated ashes harmless and pose no health risks.
Where to Scatter Ashes in Pennsylvania?
Many families will scatter ashes of a loved one at a meaningful place to them or their family. In addition, scattering ceremonies or memorial services, are becoming quite common. The can be as formal or informal as the family wants and can be held before, during, or after the ashes are scattered. A ceremony companying the scattering can be a great way to remember and reflect on your loved one who passed.
Pennsylvania is home to some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes – providing virtually endless places to scatter. Below we’ve highlighted some of the most common locations families choose to scatter ashes:
- At Home / Private Property - Similar to most other states, there are no state laws in Pennsylvania that restrict you from scattering ashes in your yard or on other property you own. However, if you want to scatter the ashes on property owned by another person or group, it is important to get their permission first.
- Scattering Gardens - with the growing number of people in Pennsylvania electing to be cremated, many memorial parks, cemeteries, and churches throughout the state have opened up scattering gardens on their property where families are allowed to scatter a loved one’s ashes. If this is something of interest, reach out to your funeral director or local church to find a location near you.
- Public Land - Pennsylvania has some of the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Even though there are no state restrictions on scattering ashes, if you want to scatter on public land, it’s recommended to check with city or county offices to see if there are any local regulations in place.
- Federal Land - Scattering on federal land (National Parks, etc.) is something that is becoming more and more common in Pennsylvania and also in many other states. Most National Parks permit scattering a loved one’s ashes as long as permission is requested (and granted) first. Each National Park has its unique set of regulations related to scattering ashes, so if you plan on scattering at one, it’s recommended to call the park ranger’s office or do a quick internet search to find out more about that specific park.
- From the Sky - In Pennsylvania and almost all other states there are no laws that restrict scattering a loved one’s ashes from a plane. The cremation process makes ashes harmless and they are also not an issue to drop out of the sky. However, the urn or container used to hold or scatter the ashes cannot be dropped – U.S. federal aviation law prohibits dropping anything from the sky that could potentially cause harm to people or property. If having your loved one’s ashes dropped from an airplane, there are a number of different companies that provide this service - a quick internet search can typically pull up one or more in your area.
How to Scatter Ashes?
With the number of people being cremated is on the rise in Pennsylvania and many other states, new urns have recently been introduced that are designed to scatter. These urns typically have a shape that is similar to a long cylinder, making it easy to scatter away from your body (and helping to prevent ashes from blowing back on you).
Below we’ve highlighted some of the most popular cremation urns to scatter ashes in Pennsylvania.
Scattering Urns Made from Bamboo
Bamboo is one of the strongest construction materials on earth and also fast-growing! Biolife’s Eco Scattering Urn is the only scattering urn on the market that’s produced from bamboo. This patented scattering urn is a great eco-friendly option for families and looks great when it’s engraved with a symbol, your loved one’s information and/or a saying. It comes standard with a special locking mechanism on top of the urn that provides families with the ability to safely transport the ashes to a special place (or multiple places) to perform the scattering. The Eco Scattering Urn is TSA approved and starts at $49, making it an affordable urn for most people.
Scattering Urns Made from Paper
There are a number of low-cost scattering urns manufactured from paper that can with a quick internet search. These are typically have a scene or symbol printed on the outside of the urn and are designed for single use (and not to scatter at multiple locations). Similar to the Eco Scattering Urn, the urns made from paper are TSA approved.
If you are interested in scattering a loved one’s ashes in water, consider the Eco Water Urn. This proprietary biodegradable urn was introduced last year and is now the leading urn for water burials offered by funeral homes throughout the country. The Eco Water Urn floats upright like a buoy for up to a few minutes then the bottom of the urn dissolves freeing the ashes in the water. The urn comes packaged in an eco-friendly bamboo cylinder case, which is great to engrave a loved one’s information or saying on. The case is also commonly included in ceremonies and used to safely and securely transport the urn to a location for the scattering.
More Than One Memorial?
With the growing number of people choosing cremation in Pennsylvania, as well as in other states, more unique memorial options have recently been introduced that are intended to be used with ashes. In addition to the scattering urn options described above, this also includes doing a tree burial with a bio urn and planting system, having a glass decoration made that includes a portion of the ashes, or including some of the ashes in jewelry, among a number of other beautiful options. With so many uplifting new options coming available, many families are now choosing to divide up a loved one’s ashes into multiple memorials.
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.