4 Things You Never Knew About Cremations


Cremation is more than just a popular type of funeral arrangement. It also has a rich history, amazing statistics and some really interesting facts. Here’s a glance at the four things you never knew about cremations.

1. Cremation Is Not as Eco-Friendly as You Think

You would think that because you aren’t burying a body in the ground that cremation is environmentally friendly. Think again. Though cremation overall is better for the environment for this same reason, the actual process actually generates harmful chemicals due to the large amounts of fossil fuels are needed for a body to be cremated. Some of the harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere include:

  •       Mercury
  •       Hydrofluoric acid
  •       Carbon monoxide
  •       Sulfur dioxide
  •       Nitrogen oxides

There is, however, something that can be done. Cremations can be eco-friendly if crematoriums install ventilation system filters. While the carbon output would still be significant, there would be a smaller impact on the environment. Another way to be eco-friendly is through bio-cremation in which a person’s remains are dissolved by a liquid process and emission-free chemical. If you need more information about cremations, Grace can help.

2. You Can Ship or Transport Cremated Remains

If you have a loved one who passed away out-of-state and you want to bring his cremated remains home with you, you have a few choices. There are several different ways to transport or ship cremated remains whether it’s across the state, the country or the world.

  • Via U.S. Mail: It is legal to send created remains across the country or the world. The U.S. Postal Service offers this service as long as it is send as registered mail or express/overnight mail. The contents must be labeled and marked on the package.The containers must be sift-proof or sealed in a sift-proof outer container. However, If you want to ship the cremated remains to or from the United States, the process can be more complex.  You will need to contact the U.S. Embassy in the foreign country you are working with and have them put the legal requirements in writing.
  • Via Airplane: Most airlines will allow you to check the cremated remains as cargo or luggage or as a carry-on. As a passenger, you should find out the airline’s policies on transporting remains. Some airlines only accept them as checked baggage, while others will give you a choice. You should also read the Transportation Security Administration’s regulations, which requires that the  container can be scanned. If an opaque image appears on a TSA scanner, the container will not be permitted through security.

3. Country with the Highest Percentage of Cremations

The cremation rate in the United States continues to climb with roughly half of all deaths resulting in cremations instead of traditional, in-ground burials. Nevada has the highest cremation rate at 74.2 percent, while Mississippi has the lowest 16.9 percent.

While cremation is becoming more popular in the U.S., Japan ranks number one worldwide for the highest percentage of cremations. As a the majority of the Japanese population identify with Shintoism or Buddhism, religions that favor cremation over in-ground burial, nearly 100 percent of all deceased are cremated. Rates are also high tiny and densely populated areas such as Hong Kong where families’ ashes are stored in multi-story columbaria.

4. Things People Do with Cremated Remains

Traditionally, cremated remains are buried or kept in an urn. However, there are some other ways people are preserving their loved ones’ memories. Here are some examples of the unique doing some unique things with their ashes. They include:

  • Memorial tattoo: Although there is some risk to this procedure, having a memorial tattoo created with a very small amount of your loved one’s ashes are gaining popularity. Tattoo parlors across the United States have been incorporating cremated remains into tattoos for years; however, it’s not a procedure all artists will do.
  •  Water burial: Scattering ashes over water is also quite typical these days. Water enthusiasts may prefer to have the cremains dispersed in the ocean or nearby lake. While this may be a simple way to scatter the ashes, many who do this believe the concept that life began in the sea so it’s best to return that life back. This is not only a humbling way to pay tribute to a deceased friend or family member, but it is also an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional ground burials. 
  •  Cremated art: An interesting way to honor your loved one is to incorporate his  ashes into a painting to hang on your wall. Cremation art, as it is commonly called, is a permanent memorial of a person’s life that reflects who he or she was and crystallizes a lifetime of memories into one piece of art. To have this type of memorial created, you need to first locate a cremation artist. He can guide you on how and what to create. Typically, the customer would choose an image to be painted and then send a certain amount of ashes (two tablespoons or so) to be used in the paint (usually oil-based). The amount of ashes is determined by the artist and size of painting desired.
  • Cremation diamonds: Another unique yet beautiful idea to memorialize your loved one is to incorporate some of his or her ashes into a cremation diamond, which is then placed in a setting for a ring, necklace, bracelet or earrings. A cremation diamond is made from a small amount (six ounces or so) of ashes that are added to a real diamond seed and placed in an incubator to mimic the natural process of diamond-growing. This process only takes a few weeks and then the diamond will be cut, polished and identified with a laser-engraved ID number.

4 thoughts on “4 Things You Never Knew About Cremations

  • By Faylinn - Reply

    My uncle just told me that he plans on having a cremation service when he dies and that it will be a type of water burial. Unlike your idea about scattering the ashes, his idea is to use a living urn. Basically, his urn will be a special type that will be laid at the bottom of the ocean so that it can turn into a reef. This way, we can go scuba diving to where his urn will be at to honor him.

  • By Braden Bills - Reply

    It’s interesting that you can ship urns after cremation. That might make for a good option for me. It would be nice to be able to have my ashes spread somewhere exotic.

  • By Chris Winters - Reply

    Grace, I had no idea that cremated remains could be shipped. My great aunt’s final wish was to be cremated. I’m wondering how what kind of urn would best suit her memorial service.

  • By Taylor Hicken - Reply

    I never knew that you could take a cremation on an airplane with you as travel on. I’m curious if people have actually done that before, although I feel like someone would. My sister has been talking to people about having her cat cremated, but I’m not sure she’d follow through with it.

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