12:11 PM 15th February 2021
5 Eco-Friendly Things You Can Do With Ashes
I was lucky enough to attend a webinar last week organised by one of my local funeral director services, Full Circle Funerals. During the webinar, four local funeral industry professionals presented the unique ways which they are offering to help families ‘dispose of’ their loved ones’ ashes after they pass away.
Many people think scattering ashes is the best way to return their loved ones’ remains to ‘whence they came’, but this isn’t true: ashes can be hugely harmful and toxic to the soil they’re scattered on, as well as the micro-organisms that live beneath the soil. As such, many businesses have developed more eco-friendly ways of disposing of ashes, while allowing us to retain a meaningful keepsake at the same time. Here is just a small taster of what you can do with ashes while looking after the world around us at the same time.
Things You Can Do With Ashes
1. Use Ashes to Create Personalised Jewellery
Use Ashes to Create Personalised Jewellery. Photo: Victoria Walker Boutique
One of the most meaningful and long-lasting ways you can use your loved ones’ ashes is to turn them into jewellery. There are several jewellers who specialise in using small amounts of ashes within personalised pieces of jewellery, such as one of the speakers at the webinar, Victoria Walker, who owns a small boutique in Farsley, Leeds.
You can have the ashes form the front of an especially engraved heart necklace, as above, have them woven into a memorial ring – perhaps for a lost husband or wife – or have them used in a small pair of earring studs. The options are plentiful, and many boutiques are happy to discuss different ideas with you to ensure you get exactly what you desire.
The best part about memorial jewellery is that most pieces only require a teaspoon of ashes, meaning you can easily get a small, precious keepsake item while using the rest of the ashes for something else.
2. Turn Them Into Your Favourite Record
Photo: And Vinyly
One of the more unique options presented to us at the webinar was by Jason Leach of 'And Vinyly', a wonderfully-named company that takes your loved ones’ ashes and bakes them into a vinyl record!
In the photo above, you can press the ashes in between the two sides of the record, with one side being transparent and allowing you to see the ashes underneath. If that’s not for you, opaque records are also available.
The records themselves are fully operational, and can be filled with around 20 minutes of audio, ranging from the deceased’s favourite songs or poems to actual audio of them talking. That way, you can have a permanent reminder of how that person sounded, or the shrewd words of wisdom that they often imparted.
3. Fuse Ashes Into A Memorial Tree
Photo: Make It Wild
One way of ensuring that the memory of your loved one will last for years to come is to have their ashes fused into a tree and planted in a protected area.
That’s what the team at Make it Wild are doing, together with the team at Life Tree UK: using a specially formulated potting mix, the ashes of your loved one will be incorporated into the compost for planting your sapling.
These memorials are the perfect way to give back to nature after someone has died, and is an especially great way to remember an environmentally-conscious loved one. The company can use any amount of ashes within the tree itself, so if you have ash left after making jewellery and vinyl records, the rest can go into one of these trees.
4. Make Beautiful Glass Art
Photo: With Love and Light
For the artistic among us, it may be appealing to have yours or your loved ones’ ashes turned into a beautiful glass sculpture which will go nicely on your mantelpiece as a reminder of the person you’ve lost.
With Love and Light is a company that can take ashes and moulds them into beautiful glass shapes – from snowflakes and hearts to trees and wreaths, there are plenty of options available, all of which are hand-made especially to suit your desires.
5. Help Rebuild the Coral Reefs
Photo: Eternal Reefs
Finally, if David Attenborough’s recent Netflix show ‘Our Planet’ has tugged at your heart strings and opened your eyes to the fate of the world’s coral reefs, you can now use your loved ones’ ashes to help save them.
Eternal Reefs combine a cremation urn, ash scattering and burial at sea into one meaningful, permanent environmental tribute to life. An Eternal Reef is a designed reef made of environmentally-safe cast concrete placed on the ocean floor as a permanent memorial of a life well lived.
They are a perfect way to give back to nature – and with the death of coral reefs an urgent issue in the natural world, it also helps to preserve these beautiful underwater world for many generations to come.
Mark is a funeral celebrant and can be contacted through his website at https://markyouroccasion.com/