FAQ's about Ashes

Coffins, Cremation, Funeral Process, Honouring Your Loved One, Scattering Ashes -

FAQ's about Ashes

Q : What really are the ashes?

A : Cremated remains are commonly called ashes, however this is something of a misnomer because it implies a very lightweight substance that can be thrown to the breeze and largely disappear.

In truth the 'ashes' are comprised of fragmented bone.  The processing of these fragments results in a uniform, pale grey to dark grey granular substance which is usually similar in texture and appearance to coarse sand.

The quantity and weight of the ashes can also be surprising - between 2-3kg is usual for an adult human.  Therefore the 'scatter' is actually more of a 'pour' and it's important that this is understood in advance.


Q : Is it legal to scatter ashes anywhere?

A : Strictly, if scattering ashes anywhere except in your own garden permission from the landowner (often the local council) should be sought.

However, as long as the scattering is discreet, respectful and appropriate, we have never encountered an objection.


Q: Are the ashes hazardous?

A : Human ashes do not present any sort of health hazard to the living or the environment.

However, they are strongly alkaline, therefore should not be used in concentration near growing plants.

If planting a tree in memory of a loved one, it is OK to include the ashes in some of the soil around the tree, but not in concentration around the roots, or it is likely that the tree will not survive.


Q : Is the coffin part of the ashes?

A : The extreme heat of cremators means that little to no traces of the coffin (regardless of the material) will remain to mingle with your loved one’s ashes.

There may be some minor traces of materials that were with the body during cremation such as implants or surgical material, fillings from teeth and coffin fittings.  These items are mostly removed when the ashes are passed through a magnetic field after processing.


Q : How are each persons ashes kept separate?

A : Cremations must, by law, happen in single chamber cremators.

These are swept and thoroughly cleared between each cremation, which ensures the ashes you receive are those of your person only.

There is a strict chains of control in crematoriums which ensures the ashes that are returned to each family are complete and correct.


Q : Do we have to buy an expensive urn?

A : Not at all.  The ashes are packed inside a blue plastic container and this is completely secure and can be used to store the ashes indefinitely, either in a niche at a crematorium or at home.

If you'd like a decorative urn, there are a very wide range available.

If it is your intention to scatter the ashes, we recommend a biodegradable scattering tube or other biodegradable urn such as a Deep Ocean Urn which gently break down in water when placed out to sea.


Every person is unique.  Every family is different.
With us, every Funeral is Individual.


Contact Northern Beaches Funerals at any time :
  --   0455 285 041
  --   kathryn@northernbeachesfunerals.com.au