Biodegradable Urns

Biodegradable urns are designed for the dispersal of ashes in an earth-friendly way. Biodegradable urns will break down gently in the earth or in water. These urns are offered in natural colors with lovely details.

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Biodegradable urns are designed for the dispersal of ashes in an earth-friendly way. Biodegradable urns will break down gradually in the ground or in water. These urns are offered in natural colors with lovely details..

Cremation Urns ~ Frequently Asked Questions

What are biodegradable urns?

Biodegradeable urns are cremation urns specifically designed to break down in the ground or in water to release the ashes inside and have little to no environmental impact. Biodegradable urns are made of materials that will dissolve or disintegrate such as salt or paper. Natural materials, dyes, and glues are preferred in construction of biodegradable urns -- again so that the overall impact on the planet is minimized.

How long do biodegradable urns last? How long will it take for a biodegradable urn to break down

The time it takes for a biodegradable urn to break down can vary from a few minutes to a few years depending on the material it is made of and where the urn is being placed -- such as ground burial or scattering at sea. The Oceane Sand Footprints Urn, for example, is made of gelatin and sand and will dissolve within days -- possibly hours -- when placed in water but could take 2-3 months to dissolve if placed in the ground. The very popular Journey Biodegradable Urn series is made of paper. Families appreciate that it floats briefly, then sinks as the paper absorbs the water, and finally biodegrades within a day or less.

Where can I bury a biodegradable urn in the ground?

Burying a biodegradable urn in the ground is easiest if you are on your own private property. For example, many families want to bury the urn next to a tree or plant (like a lilac bush) in memory of the person. Some cemeteries also allow the burial of biodegradable urns. You can ask your funeral director for cemeteries that allow this practice and/or search for green burial cemeteries. If you are interested in burial of the urn on public lands such as state or national parks, you will need to contact that agency and see what practices are permitted.

Where can I put a biodegradable urn for water burial?

Water burial urns can placed in a variety of bodies of water including the ocean and larger inland lakes. The Environmental Protection Agency offers important guidelines for water burial including that any dispersal should take place at least three nautical miles from shore and that only biodegradable materials be used for at sea burials. They also ask that the agency be notified of any burials within 30 days of the water burial. You can place urns in the water yourself from your own vessel. Some families hire a boat for this purpose. Even many cruise ship lines offer at sea burials as part of their service offerings.

How long will it take a biodegradable urn to dissolve in water?

The time for a biodegradable urn to dissolve in water depends on the material it is made of. The Journey urns are popular water burial urns made of paper. They get waterlogged and start dissolving within an hour but can take 24-48 hours to disintegrate fully. Urns made of salt dissolve within a few hours of placement in water.

Are you allowed to put human ashes in the ocean?

Yes, placing human ashes in the ocean is permitted -- whether simply shaken into the water or using a water burial urn designed to make the process of sea burial easier. The EPA does provide guidelines about water burial of human remains including the requirement to be three nautical miles from shore and notifying them that you did so.

Do human ashes dissolve or biodegrade?

No, human ashes do not dissolve or biodegrade. They will not float if placed in water. While perhaps not pleasant to hear, human ashes are essentially bone matter which include dry calcium phosphates and very small quantities of minerals.