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  • Writer's pictureAura Flights

Eco-friendly Options for Scattering Ashes

Updated: May 16, 2023

While there are many ways to honour the memory of a loved one, ashes scattering is a popular choice for many families. However, traditional methods of scattering ashes can have a negative impact on the environment. Chemicals and pollutants released during the process can harm plants, animals, and water sources.


Fortunately, there are many eco-friendly options for ashes scattering that allow you to bid farewell to your loved ones while minimising any negative environmental impact. Here are six eco-friendly options for ashes scattering that are both sustainable and meaningful:


6. Scatter Ashes Over a Distance

The most simple and traditional way to scatter ashes is to go to a place that was significant to the deceased during their life and scatter their ashes on the ground there. However, a high concentration of cremated remains can change soil composition, impacting plant growth and causing ecological harm. A simple way to make this method eco-friendly is to either use fewer ashes or spread the cremains over a larger distance — this lowers the concentration of the scattered ashes, posing less of a risk to local ecosystems as a result.

Woman scattering ashes over a distance in a rural location

This still allows you or your loved one to rest in a place that was special to them, and provides friends and family of the deceased with a place that they can go to or think about when they want to remember the person they have lost. It's great that this popular and meaningful method of scattering ashes can still be done in an environmentally friendly way, and it is certainly something to consider when you're thinking about your own end-of-life plans.


5. Eco-friendly Burial

One comforting idea associated with traditional coffin burials is that of the deceased becoming one with the earth. For this reason, many people who opt to be cremated are still buried in an interment of ashes, where the ashes are buried with an urn in place of a coffin. However, as with scattering ashes on the ground, burying a high concentration of cremains can be harmful to ecosystems.

wooden cross grave marker in the woods

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate these effects. There are many biodegradable urn options out there, and these can help by delaying the contact between the ashes and the soil, meaning that by the time the ashes are in contact with plant life, the roots are older and more resilient. You can also purchase a soil blend made for the purpose of burying ashes, which neutralises their negative effects so you can bury ashes without worrying about the ecological impacts. Having your ashes buried with these precautionary measures is a great way for nature lovers to preserve natural life even after their own has ended.


4. Memorial Trees

A tree standing in a sunny field with yellow flowers behind and blue sky above

Similar to a simple urn burial, this method consists of burying ashes below a soil additive, with soil and a tree planted on top. Not only does this method not bring harm the environment, but is actively beneficial - trees encourage ecosystem growth and diversity, so as well as being connected to the earth, a memorial tree ensures that the deceased's resting place is one of new life and ecological growth.


Additionally, having a tree grow over the buried ashes provides a physical memorial site where loved ones of the deceased can go to remember them and celebrate their life. This is something that can be very important to family and friends when considering how to scatter cremated remains.


3. Water Scattering

A sunset over the ocean with golden yellow and orange sky

Many people have a special connection to the sea, and scattering ashes in water is a great way to honour this connection when they pass away. Ashes can be scattered directly into the sea, as while they do not dissolve in water, they are coarse and sand-like in consistency and so can circulate around the ocean without negative effects. If you would prefer to use an urn, there are urns made specifically for water scattering which biodegrade in water and so have no harmful environmental impacts. There are no legal implications to scattering ashes at sea, but the Environment Agency does have guidelines and it is important to make sure you aren't on privately owned land.


2. Memorial Reefs

coral reef with fish swimming and sunlight cascading through the water

If you like the idea of water scattering but would prefer to be connected to a specific site rather than an entire body of water, a memorial reef might be right for you. Ashes are incorporated into memorial reefs through concrete or metal structures which form mimic the structure and function of a natural reef.


Reef balls have many uses, such as coral transplants and mangrove redevelopment. In terms of the eco-friendliness of this as an ashes-scattering alternative, scientists say there are 'no obvious downsides' to memorial reefs, as many marine plants and animals 'grow better on structure'. Coral reefs are quickly disappearing and could be almost entirely gone within thirty years, so this method is not only environmentally friendly but actively works to conserve marine life. As such, these reefs are an incredibly meaningful way for any ocean lover to be memorialised.


1. Scattering ashes in Space

If you are a sci-fi fan, scientist, or just a lover of space, this is an option for you to consider. Aura Flights specialise in scattering ashes in space over 100,000 feet above the Earth, taking you and your loved ones on a breathtaking final journey. As well as individual ash scattering, we also offer services for scattering the ashes of couples who were together in life and wish to remain together even after their lives have ended.

Aura Flights scatter vessel scattering ashes in space with the sun shining on the left in the blackness of space with planet Earth below

When ashes are scattered in space, they travel around the globe for three to six months before arriving back on Earth as raindrops or snowflakes, nourishing the ground for growth and new life. Similarly, all launch equipment was created with the environment in mind, so you and your loved ones can rest assured that scattering your ashes in this way will cause significantly less harm to the environment compared to a traditional burial or ashes scattering. Because the ashes land all over the globe, your loved ones can feel close to you no matter where in the world they may be.


If you are interested in a memorial flight for yourself or a loved one, get in touch with our helpful and compassionate team who can guide you through the process.

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