Unique and Meaningful Ways to Scatter Cremated Remains

By: Joseph Greenidge
Thursday, December 20, 2018

The way you scatter the remains of a loved one should be as individual as they were. It should reflect their personality, what they loved, and how they lived. If it’s something you would like to do for your loved one, we’ve compiled a list of ideas below.

Scattering in Nature

For the nature lover, there could be no better place to rest than in the midst of a forest or glen or atop a mountain. It is permitted in some National Parks; however, you will have to complete some paperwork, and there are some stipulations. For more information, contact the National Parks Service.

No matter where you wish to scatter the remains, you must first obtain permission from the landowner or the appropriate authority.













Scattering at Sea

There's a certain romantic, poetic beauty to scattering the remains of a loved one at sea. That is especially true if the deceased had a fondness for the ocean, as might a boatman or a surfer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the governing body that oversees burials at sea, including the scattering of remains. Scattering the remains of a loved one must be done at least three miles from shore and only biodegradable materials can be used.

The EPA only covers coastal waters, and you must report the scattering within 30 days. Scattering remains in inland waters is subject to local and state laws, which will vary from one place to another.

Remains can be poured directly into the water from the deck of a boat, but many people are now choosing to place the remains in a biodegradable urn that floats until it gently disintegrates and releases the remains to the sea.

Sky Lanterns

It can be a very moving and awe-inspiring sight: attaching a small portion of remains to candlelit paper lanterns that gently float up into the nighttime sky. It’s a beautifully symbolic way to say goodbye. You may need to look into what local authorities need to be notified (fire department, air traffic control, etc.) and make sure that weather conditions are favorable.

Aerial Scattering

Releasing your loved one’s remains out of a plane is rapidly becoming a popular way to scatter remains over a widespread area. Many pilots and companies are now offering this service, and most have specially designed apparatus on their planes for this purpose.


Some companies can incorporate your loved one's remains into fireworks that will light up the night sky with color and sparkle, as family and friends look on. It can be an exciting and moving tribute to someone who lit up your life.

Make a Keepsake

If scattering the remains isn’t the right choice for you, you can opt to have them turned into a keepsake that you can cherish forever. Remains can be transformed into jewelry, works of art, stained glass, or any number of other items.


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