Cremation is an alternative to the burial process and it is chosen by many people because of religious beliefs, the desire to preserve the environment or it was requested by the person who died. Cremation is also a less expensive option in comparison to a burial. The remains are placed in a container that is combustible and placed in a special furnace called a cremation chamber or a crematory where through intense heat is reduced to bone fragments that are then crushed and pulverized to resemble course sand. The cremated remains of an average adult body will weigh about 7-8 pounds.
Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burial or other forms of disposition. Cremation is an alternative method of disposition than ground burial. Cremated remains may be buried, ceremonially scattered or placed in permanent urn or container.
Orthodox Jews usually forbid cremation; other sects of Judaism support cremation, but burial remains the preferred option. Opting for cremation does not preclude you from participating in a “traditional” funeral ceremony. As a matter of fact, families who choose cremation oftentimes have a viewing and services prior to the cremation process.
Funeral homes can arrange for cremations on behalf of consumers and sell cremation merchandise such as urns and other containers. However, in New Jersey, only cemeteries can operate crematories (except for a few combined funeral home/crematory operations that were in existence prior to the passage of the N.J. Cemetery Act of 1971.
The next of kin of the deceased will need to sign authorization forms prior to transporting the body to the crematory.
Cremation involves the incineration of the body tissue. The body is placed in a rigid casket or alternative container that protects the dignity of the body and provides ease of handling for funeral home and crematory personnel. The casket or container is placed in a cremation retort. The entire cremation process generally takes from 1.5 to 3 hours. After a cooling period, the cremated remains are removed from the crematory chamber. Cremated remains are not ashes. They are bone fragments (calcium compounds) and normally weigh between three and nine pounds. The cremated remains are placed in a container and a cremation certificate is issued. New Jersey law does not regulate how and where cremated human remains are scattered.
Caring for Cremated Remains
There are a variety of ways to care for the cremated remains of the deceased.
Cremation urns vary in styles and materials and can be purchased from funeral homes or funeral merchandise retailers. Consider a biodegradable urn if you plan to scatter or bury the cremated remains at a later date.
A columbarium contains niches to store cremated human remains. The niches may be either on the inside or the outside of the structure and range in price, depending on size, location and quality. Cremated remains are placed in an urn or other container before being placed in a niche. The cemetery may charge you extra for endowment care, a flower vase or a nameplate.
Many cemeteries have facilities for burying cremated remains, such as urn gardens that range from simple to elaborate. Or, you can bury them in a family grave or in other places, where allowed. You might consider a 'green burial' in which you bury the cremated remains outside of a traditional cemetery setting, in a biodegradable urn.
Sharing with Others
Place small portions of the cremated remains in jewelry, miniature urns or other keepsake memorials specifically created for this purpose and present them to relatives and close friends.
Scattering on Land
New Jersey and other states will permit cremated remains to be scattered on private property with the permission of the property owner and on public property, with the approval of the state, county or local agency in charge. This includes publically- and privately-owned lakes, rivers and streams. Many national and state parks have permit requirements and some have location limitations. Always check before scattering to make sure that no laws are broken.
Scattering at Sea
Federal law requires that cremated remains must be scattered at least three nautical miles off shore. Anyone who owns a boat can scatter cremated remains provided they file a burial/scattering at sea notification form with the appropriate federal Environmental Protection Agency regional office within 30 days. The form is available at www.epa.gov. You may want to ask the funeral director about a water soluble urn which floats for a few minutes before sinking.
Scattering from the Air
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows cremated remains to be scattered from airplanes and other airborne devices as long as the procedure does not present a hazard to persons or property. As with all other considerations, be sure to consult with your funeral director to understand all the options available to you.
Shipping of Cremated Remains
United States Postal Service (USPS) Only the USPS accepts cremated human remains for shipment. They must be sent Priority Mail Express and cannot be sent overnight express, regular, or certified mail. The cremated remains must be packaged in a sift-proof or similar-type container. The container must be sealed inside a second, durable outer container and a copy of the cremation authorization form must be enclosed. Many crematories have containers specifically designed to ship human remains.
Transporting on Airlines
Because of required Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) screening procedures, airlines treat cremated human remains as carry on luggage only. Cremated remains may not be checked through as regular luggage. The cremated remains should be transported in a wood urn, temporary plastic container, or cardboard container that will pass the X-ray screening process. Standard urns and opaque containers typically fail the screening process. Remember to check with the airline for any additional requirements.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, a casket is not required, most states require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, however, in some states no container is required.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. In fact it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, most crematories allow immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.
Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. It is encouraged that cremated remains be a part of a funeral as it provides a focal point for the service.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
While laws vary state by state, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.
If you choose to have a visitation and/or funeral service or funeral mass prior to cremation we provide rental caskets.
Crematory at Holy Cross Burial Park
East Brunswick, NJ
Crematory at Franklin Memorial Park
North Brunswick, NJ