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cremation packaging

How should Cremation Authorities pack and dispatch ashes after cremation

standard urn received from crematorium

What should Crematoria do and what should you expect? The following is based on a Best practise briefing produced by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (UK), I have provided a link at the bottom to the actual guidance.

In essence their primary responsibility is to ensure you receive the ashes safely and in a condition which will not cause distress or embarrassment.

All ashes must be removed from the cremator and the remains, once cool and treated, should be sealed inside a robust polythene bag which in turn is placed inside a suitable outer container.

This container is then labelled with:

  • the name of the deceased,
  • cremation number; and
  • the name of the Crematorium.

The following may answer the fact that the urn you receive back from the crematoria tend to be rather ugly plastic utilitarian items (well, the following reasons and the cost that is)

The container should be:

  • strong enough to resist breakage in transit
  • simple in design;
  • Adequate volume to hold the ashes, the recommended minimum capacity for a cremation urn is 3.28ltrs (200 cubic inches).
  • A tight fitting lid strong enough not come open inadvertently

The cremation urn should be wrapped, protected and placed within a double-strength cardboard box which wrapped in a sheet of strong brown paper, sealed with an adhesive tape. The parcel must be clearly and correctly labelled.

A secure courier service should be used if the ashes are not collected in person. A letter should be sent to the intended recipient on the same day as the despatch telling them to expect delivery. When ashes are to be interred or scattered in a Churchyard Burial Ground, Cemetery or Garden of Remembrance, an appropriate certificate should be issued by the Cremation Authority and forwarded with the letter.

The Cremation Authority should acquire a receipt whenever ashes are removed from the Crematorium. And likewise if ashes are sent by courier proof of receipt should be obtained -it is advisable for Cremation Authorities to issue a form for this purpose for completion and return by the recipient.

All looks sensible and well considered to me, one thing I think they should do is put the name and address on the person who will be receiving the ashes on each layer, as it may prevent the tiny percentage of irresponsible people from throwing the box and container away at the scattering site. Oh yes and it still shame we get the ashes back in those those dreadful Polyurns.

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