Cremation and Recycling

Many individuals opt for being cremated once they are deceased, and crematoriums play a big role in our society for that reason. Crematoriums have been around for a while, and now we are hearing that they are going green by switching to environmentally-friendly practices like recycling.

What Is Prompting Crematoriums to Go Green?

Many years ago, when a body was cremated, what was left behind after cremation was only calcified bone, and sometimes some metal from the casket. Everything else would evaporate in the high-temperature cremator.

However, more recently, the cremation industry started seeing more and more items being left behind thanks to advancements in the modern medical field.

Crematorium operations started to come across metal and alloy implants or prosthetics like titanium hip replacement parts, cobalt-chrome knee joints and of course some gold teeth and gold tooth fillings. These metals, precious metals, and alloys have high melting points that can withstand the high temperatures of the cremator.

For example, the melting point of titanium is 3,000 °F, and the melting point of gold is 1947 °F. Initially, most crematoriums and funeral homes would dispose of everything that is left behind, including metal implants, simply in a landfill. However, over time, recycling companies began to realize that the number of metals that crematoriums were disposing of in landfills were increasing due to more individuals having access to implant and prosthetic surgery, heavily polluting the environment.

Thus emerged a new practice of recycling cremation metals thanks to recycling companies that noticed the concerning trend. These companies started collaborating with crematoriums, and now the number of crematoriums that are going green is increasing.

How Recycling Companies Help Crematoriums Go Green

Companies that are focused on recycling cremation metals simply act as the middleman between crematoriums and manufacturers that buy metal. There are recycling programs where the recycling program provides the crematorium or funeral home with an efficient remains processor that helps collect metals and alloys left behind after cremation.

Some companies, in fact, provide partnering crematoriums such processors free of charge. Using the processor, a crematorium would collect the metals, put them in containers that the recycling company provides to them, sometimes free of charge, and ship it to the recycling company. This is the first phase of recycling titanium implants as well as gold teeth and other implants taking an environmentally-friendly approach.

What Happens Next

Once the recycling company receives a box full of cremation metals like titanium hip implants and cobalt-chrome shoulder joints, it would melt all the metals at its facility, and sell it to manufacturers that range from prosthetic manufacturers to jet engine manufacturers. This way, instead of these cremated metals ending up in a landfill and hurting the environment, the metals get a second use.

Crematoriums that engage in this innovative recycling practices typically give back to the community or charities the money that they receive when they ship and sell the cremated metals.

This way this practice helps both the families of deceased individuals and the community at large.