There are a variety of ways to dispose of the ashes of the deceased.
Ashes can be placed in an urn. Cremation urns vary in styles and materials and can be purchased from funeral homes or funeral merchandise retailers. You may want to consider a biodegradable urn if you plan to scatter or bury the cremated ashes at a later date.
A columbarium contains niches or designated bays to store cremated ashes. An urn or other container holding the ashes is placed in the niche. A niche may be on either the inside or the outside of the columbarium, and ranges in price depending on size and location. The cemetery may charge additional fees for endowment care, a flower vase or a nameplate.
Many cemeteries have facilities for burying cremated remains, such as an urn garden. Where permitted, the cremated remains may also be buried in a family grave or other location.
Scattering on Land
New Jersey will permit ashes to be scattered on private property, with the permission of the property owner, or on public property, with the approval of the state, county or local agency in charge of the property. This includes publicly- and privately-owned lakes, rivers and streams. National and state parks have permit requirements and location limitations. Always check before scattering ashes to make sure you are compliant with the laws of the state or municipality.
Scattering at Sea
Federal law requires that ashes be scattered at least three nautical miles off shore. Anyone who owns a boat can scatter ashes provided they file a burial/scattering at sea notification form with the Environmental Protection Agency within 30 days of the scattering. The form is available at www.epa.gov. You may want to ask your funeral director about a water-soluble urn which floats for a few minutes before sinking.
Scattering from the Air
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not prohibit ashes from being scattered from airplanes and other airborne devices as long as the procedure does not present a hazard to persons or property.
Sharing with Others
You may place small portions of the ashes in jewelry, miniature urns or other keepsake memorials specifically created for this purpose and present them to relatives and close friends.
As with all other considerations, be sure to consult with your funeral director to understand all the options available to you.