A funeral co-op in Dunfermline, Scotland is accused of mixing unclaimed cremated remains with grit and spreading the mixture on a entry ramp during the winter.

Pittencrieff Park.jpg
(ABOVE:  Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) 

From the Sunday Mail (a UK Newspaper): 

“Sometimes when families ask to get their relatives’ ashes back, the plastic container for them is too small.

“This wasn’t every time but every now and then there were too many remains.

“Instead of getting a bigger container, the spare ashes were tipped into an emptied-out bottle of embalming fluid which also contained grit.”

The worker, a funeral director for eight years, added: “In winter when it was frosty, the boss would tell one of the staff to go and salt the road outside the office so that people wouldn’t slip on ice – and the remains from the bottle were used.”

Read the full story here.

Um…. Do I even need to point out that this is NOT the best way to treat cremated remains?

Often, families abandon cremated remains for personal reasons.  Maybe some just don’t care.  Others might have difficulty finding the courage to “bring mom home.”  Still more might think someone else in the family has already handled it.  We’ve discussed the problems families face when picking up cremated remains before.

Regardless of the actions of these others, you still have the obligation to act with compassion and caution.  And while many states prescribe a waiting period, after which you may dispose of uncollected remains, I would warn you to be careful.

Make a phone call before you scatter or bury unclaimed remains.  If, after your call, you still need to dispose of the remains, make sure you record the date and place of the scattering in the permanent record.

And here’s a hint:  writing “Scattered on entry ramp to provide better footing – January 2, 2007” is not appropriate or ethical.