This eighth edition of state guides related to storing and scattering ashes of a loved one focuses on the state of Texas. This beautiful state is the second largest in the country in terms of size and population, and is home to some of the most amazing landscapes in the nation - rolling hill country, desert plains, and brilliant rivers!
Funeral homes in Texas and other states are frequently asked various questions related to scattering the ashes of a person or pet. Some of the most common questions include if it is permitted, where in the state it can it be performed, and what type of urn or container can be used to scatter? In this guide we focus on providing helpful information related to storing and scattering ashes in Texas with the goal of helping people memorialize a loved one in a beautiful and legal way.
Rules for Scattering Ashes in Texas
There are very few state-wide laws in Texas that prevent your from storing or scattering a person or pet’s ashes. The ashes can be kept in a grave, crypt, urn, or other container of a family’s choosing and if the decision is made to scatter, there are many options available.
If you wish to scatter ashes in Texas, state law allows you to do so over “uninhabited public land, over a public waterway or sea, or on the private property of a consenting owner”. Unless the container is biodegradable, Texas law requires you to remove the ashes from the container before scattering.
Even though there are limited state laws in Texas related to storing or scattering ashes, certain cities or counties may have local restrictions on scattering ashes. If you plan on scattering ashes, it’s a good idea to check with local government offices in the area where you plan to do it.
Where to Scatter Ashes in Texas?
Many families will scatter the ashes of a loved one at a meaningful place, or another beautiful location outdoors. In addition, memorial services with a scattering are becoming more and more common. This service can be held before, during, or after the scattering event and can be a great way to reflect and honor a lost loved one.
There are many places to scatter ashes of a loved one in Texas and below we’ve highlighted some of the most common ones.
- Scattering Gardens - many churches, memorial parks, and cemeteries in Texas have a designated area on their property for scattering ashes (which is commonly referred to as a ‘scattering garden’). If you’re interested in scattering at a scattering garden, a conversation with your local church staff or a quick internet search can typically bring up a few options nearby.
- Private Property - Similar to most other states, in Texas there are no state-wide restrictions on scattering ashes of a loved one (or pet) in your yard or other property you own. If you’re interested in scattering ashes on the private party of another person or organization, you will need to get their permission first.
- Public Land - Texas has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country - if you plan on scattering on public land, it’s a good idea to check with local government offices if any city or county regulations exist.
- Federal Land - Many families choose to scatter the ashes of a loved one in a National Park or on other federal land. Most National Parks allow families to scatter in certain areas and with permission. As every park is different, a call to the park ranger’s office at a park where you plan on scattering can provide you with the necessary information.
- In the Gulf - With the long coastline of Southern Texas, scattering a loved one’s ashes at sea is a popular option of many Texans. There are a number of boating companies that offer scattering services - a simple internet search can find many along the various coastal harbors. Be sure to keep in mind federal law which requires that ashes are scattered, at minimum, 3 nautical miles away from shore. In addition, it’s required that you (or the boating service) informs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency within 30 days of doing a scattering at sea.
- From the Air - In Texas, as with most other states, there are no laws restricting scattering a loved one’s ashes from an airplane. Through the cremation process, ashes are harmless, and therefore, there are no issues releasing them from the sky. It’s important to simply hang on to the urn or other container holding the ashes during scattering as U.S. aviation laws prohibits dropping any objects from the sky that could potentially inflict harm on people or property.
How to Scatter Ashes?
With the growing number of people choosing cremation and more people looking to have their ashes scattered, urns have recently been developed that are designed to scatter. These types of urns are typically a long cylindrical shape, so people can scatter away from their body. This helps prevent having the ashes blow back on the person scattering.
Below are some of the most popular scattering urns offered by funeral homes nationwide.
Urns for Scattering
There are two leading types of scattering urns currently available: one made from bamboo and the other from paper.
Bamboo Scattering Urns
Bamboo is one of the strongest building materials on the planet and given its fast growth rate, it’s a sustainable resource. The Eco Scattering Urn is the only scattering urn on the market made entirely from bamboo. This patented urn comes with a special locking mechanism that gives people the ability to securely transport a loved one’s ashes to a location to scatter and also gives people the ability to scatter some of the ashes at one location then re-secure the remaining ashes in the urn to scatter at another location or take home. An additional bonus with this type of urn is that bamboo engraves well and standard engraving is offered for a nominal fee.
Paper Scattering Urns
There are many scattering urns made from paper (cardboard) that can be found online or at your local funeral home. These are typically a low-cost option to the other scattering urns available and can be found with a number of different images printed on the outside of the urn. These are designed for one-time use (and not for scattering at multiple locations) and also require an added step of gluing part of it together while loading the ashes into the urn.
Urns for Water Burials
With a vast Southern coastline and many waterways throughout the state, water burials are a popular choice among Texans.
The patent pending Eco Water Urn has quickly become the leading water urn of choice for funeral homes throughout the country. This special biodegradable urn is made only from recycled plant materials (without any glues or chemicals) and floats similar to a buoy for up to a few minutes before the bottom breaks apart and it gracefully scatters a loved one’s ashes in water. The urn is packaged in an attractive bamboo case – a perfect way to safely transport the urn holding a loved one’s ashes to that special location to scatter.
Another option for families interested in a water burial is to use the patented Flow, the Ice Urn. This special urn was recently introduced in the U.S. market and is made entirely from a block of ice - arguably one of the most eco-friendly memorials available. The urn floats gracefully on the water for a period of time before melting and gracefully spreading the ashes of a loved one.
With the growing number of people choosing cremation over burial, more and more memorial options continue to come available for cremated ashes. With so many interesting and uplifting options, it can be a challenge for some to decide on just one memorial. Many people now choose to scatter some of the ashes then have another memorial with some or all of the remaining ashes. This can include a tree burial with The Living Urn, incorporating ashes in jewelry or a special stone, or having the ashes infused in a beautiful glass decorative piece that can be cherished for many years to come.