Among the list of decisions that have to be made post the passing of a loved one, what to do with the cremated ashes, may not seem like an urgent matter. However, the options are vast, and settling on the one that is best for you and your family can be a source of comfort and peace during this difficult time. In Florida, there are no state laws that restrict where you may keep or scatter ashes. Sometimes, a loved ones will decide for themselves how they would like their ashes to be handled after they pass and they may include detailed instructions in their will. Alternatively, if the decision-making falls on your shoulders, here are a few options you may want to consider.
Displaying cremated ashes in an Urn
The traditional route is for the cremated ashes to be kept in an urn inside your home. Many companies specialize in creating unique and personalized urns that can be custom engraved. Some of these urns come in very intricate designs and are even considered works of art. They make for beautiful displays while safely storing your loved one’s remains.
An urn garden is a designated area of a cemetery where cremated remains can be buried in the ground. Cremated ashes can be buried in a family plot in a public or private cemetery. Because urns take up less space than a casket, often cemeteries will allow for multiple urns to be buried in one plot. You may purchase a single plot which will likely include one small gravestone or opt for a more elaborate display such as a rock, a bench, or a landscaping element. Urn garden plots are generally less expansive.
Tree Pod Burial
In an effort to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, a tree pod burial system has been designed as an alternative method of burying cremated ashes. In this process, cremated remains are wrapped in natural fiber cloth, stored inside an eco-friendly pod which is then buried in the ground with a tree planted directly above it. As the biodegradable urn decomposes, it releases the cremated ashes into the ground, which in turn feeds the tree. In essence, new life is born from the decomposition of the cremated remains.
Cremated Ashes as Keepsake and Heirlooms
Many companies specialize in turning cremated ashes into keepsakes or heirlooms such as pendants, bracelets, rings, or keychains. By using a carbonized process the cremated ashes can even be transformed into diamonds.
Some choose to not hold on to cremated ashes at all and rather decide to set them free in their desired location.
Scattering at Sea – Scattering ashes at sea is a popular option specifically in Florida. If this is an option you’re considering, you will have the notify the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of scattering at sea within 30 days of it occurring. You will be required to file for a permit through the EPA website.
Federal law requires that the urn or container used to scatter must be biodegradable, or disposed of separately. Ashes also must be scattered at least 3 nautical miles from the shore. Fortunately, almost every port in Florida includes boat services that cater to families looking to scatter their loved one’s remains at sea.
Aerial Scattering – There are no state laws in Florida that regulate the scattering of ashes by airplane. Federal law does prohibit dropping any objects, such as urns, from the air that can potentially cause harm to others or their property. However, cremated ashes alone are not considered hazardous and therefore are permitted to be scattered from a plane.
Scattering Gardens – Many cemeteries, memorial parks, and churches designate special places for the scattering of a loved one’s ashes. These gardens are protected and typically beautifully maintained allowing you to visit and memorialize your loved one in a peaceful and tranquil setting.
As your Funeral director, TJ Cohan of Cremations of Greater Tampa Bay is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to promptly answer any questions you may have regarding cremation and funeral services. You can reach us at (813) 957-2669 His hope is to make this difficult time as easy as possible for families.