Well I think this is a good news story, the answer is it is recovered and recycled. In fact it raises a heck of a lot of money for charity!
It turns out that Institute of Cemetery and Crematoria Management have got about 130 crematoria signed up to a scheme which recovers metal from crematoria, this equates to about half those operating in the UK.
An individual can opt opt out, although why you would wish to is beyond me. Tim Morris from the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management said ‘that in his experience, only two families had ever asked for the metal left over from their loved one’s cremation to be returned to them.
The first was a Sikh family who wanted to reclaim the metal from a ceremonial dagger and the second was a family who quickly sent it back.’
Since the programme has started a total of 10 metric tonnes has been separated from the ashes. Of this 3.5 metric tonnes has come from medical implants and 5.6 metric tonnes from screws and nails from the coffin. The remaining 0.2 metric tonnes is from other debris and dust. The metal has been quoted as having a value of about £12.50 per kilogram, and the latest round of collections earned £125,000 for fifteen charities in Wales, England and Scotland. All the charities are somehow related to death and its aftermath.
One question, well perhaps maybe two, the article said – “Previously, any metal left in the cremation ash was buried with the ash in gardens of remembrance” – Really? is that what happens to it, all that metal is buried at crematoria gardens of remembrance? In Japan there seems to be a rather lucrative trade in reclaiming precious metals particularly the gold from fillings. Perhaps they have a special garden of remembrance tucked out the way rather than digging up the visible one every day. The second what do the crematoria who haven’t signed up do with it? Does everything get buried?
Nevertheless it is a good idea and should be applauded.