Crematoriums Recycling Metal Body Parts Into Street Signs

Crematoriums in Britain are recycling metal body parts left behind after the cremation process. The resulting materials are then used in the construction of street signs, motor vehicle components, lamp posts, roadway safety barriers, and even airplane engines.

Once consent has been given by the family of the deceased, items such as hip replacement joints, surgical plates, tooth fillings, and screws are collected and recycled by a contractor. The nationwide effort seeks to reduce costs while making a positive impact environmentally.

Currently, roughly 50 percent of the country’s crematoriums participate in the recycling program. While some might find the process a bit morbid or unsettling, it appears to have made a positive impact so far.

In addition to reducing energy costs, profits earned from the recycling are donated to charity. Since Britain’s crematorium recycling effort began in 2004, nearly $1.3 million has reportedly been raised for charitable causes.

Family members of the deceased are always given the option of keeping the metal body parts. “Some people want to keep the metal items, which is understandable.” explained a spokesperson from Weston-super-Mare Crematorium. “But many people don’t and they are collected and sent off for recycling.”

The entire process is reportedly under strict supervision by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, which dictates the criteria that must be followed by participating crematoriums and contractors.

On average, crematoriums that are involved in the recycling movement collect roughly one large bin of metal body parts each month. According to OrthoMetals, the primary contractor used by participating crematoriums, the recycled body parts produce approximately 75 tons of metal annually. The company believes the practice is good for the environment.

“The efficient re-use of materials conserves energy and saves our environment,” a statement from OrthoMetals’ website reads. “Recycling is the way of the future. We welcome you to take part in our green solution. All metals remaining after cremation are disposed of in the most suitable manner to reduce the impact on our environment. This will include the sensitive recycling of orthopedic implants and metal residues in compliance with existing laws.”

What are your thoughts on Britain’s unusual recycling program? Would you allow a crematorium to recycle the metal body parts of your loved ones to make objects like road signs?