How much does cremation cost in 2022?

With well over 3/4 of British funerals now culminating in cremation, and with the relentless promotion of direct cremation on mainstream TV channels, we thought it was about time to look at the cost of being cremated in 2022. 

The Competition and Markets Authority’s Funeral Market Investigation Order 2021 mandated that all crematoria must publish their prices, which has made this research possible (even if not easy!) – we are extremely grateful for this new transparency.

Some important provisos  before we start – for the purpose of this blog post, and to avoid completely drowning in numbers, we are only focusing on the cremation fees here, not the full price for a funeral. Once funeral director fees are added on, the total costs will, of course, be significantly higher. 

We have looked at the price charged for a standard adult cremation, with a ceremony at 11.00am or thereabouts, where varying prices are shown for different times of the day. 

We aren’t comparing the multiple different prices for direct cremations, or ‘attended direct cremations’, we’re simply looking at the standard cremation fees published by the crematoria companies.

There are lots of numbers and links, but we’ll try to make it easy to follow – we’ll break it up with some gorgeous photos by Rachel Wallace taken at the wonderful Mortlake Crematorium, run by a collective of four London Boroughs (and where cremation fees are among the lowest 10% in the country!) 

The first and most obvious finding is that there is an absolutely enormous disparity across the country. You could almost describe it as a postcode lottery. 

The tremendously useful league table from The Cremation Society of Great Britain (CMS) shows an astonishing range of fees; the 2021 fee for a single standard adult cremation ranged from £392 to £1,100,  a difference of £708. 

Citizens of Belfast have access to the lowest cremation fees in the United Kingdom, with the local authority run City of Belfast Crematorium currently charging residents of the city a very reasonable £408. But back across the Irish Sea, for those of us in the rest of the UK, things are very different.

The CMS league table tells us that there were 312 crematoria operating in 2021, and of these, (excluding Belfast), 90% of them charged more than £700, while the latest cremation statistics from the same source show that the average total cremation charge in the UK in January 2022 was £867.75.

The crematorium with the highest standard fee is the independently owned Parkgrove Crematorium in Angus, Scotland, where the fee for an adult cremation is £1,100.

Head south to Oxfordshire and a ceremony at a ‘premium time’ (12.00, 13.00 or 14.00) will cost you even more – £1,140 for a lunch time ceremony at either of the two Memoria run crematoria – North Oxfordshire Crematorium and South Oxfordshire Crematorium

Now, it’s an interesting thing that there are three crematoria serving Oxford and the surrounding area – all privately owned, the above two owned by Memoria, and a third, Oxford Crematorium, owned and run by Dignity PLC (now rebranded as The Crematorium and Memorial Group). A 60 minute ‘slot’ at any of these three crematoria will cost a minimum of £1,070 (at the Dignity crematorium), while the two Memoria crematoria both charge £1,090 for an 11am booking.

Down in the seaside town of Brighton, however, there are two crematoria, one local authority run, the other privately owned. Woodvale Crematorium is run by Brighton & Hove City Council, and charges £715 for a cremation, while half a mile away, Dignity operate The Downs Crematorium and somehow manages to undercut the local authority with a cremation fee of £678. A whopping discount of £392 compared with the Dignity price of £1,070 for a cremation in Oxford – or at nine of their other crematoria across the country.

Prices at the remaining Dignity crematoria (there are 46 in total) range between £675 at Stockport Crematorium (that’s a one-off, the lowest price charged by any crematorium in the group, and perhaps reflective of the fact that there are 13 other crematoria serving the Greater Manchester area) to £1,060, which curiously is the fee charged by both of the Dignity owned crematoria which serve the people of Norwich, Earlham Crematorium and St. Faiths Crematorium

No other crematoria are located in the city, so to find a lower cost cremation fee in the Norwich area you’d need to travel half an hour west to the privately owned Breckland Crematorium (£895), head 23 miles north to Cromer Crematorium, operated by the Westerleigh Group (£1,040), take a 50 mile round trip to the local authority run Great Yarmouth Crematorium (£895) or drive a similar distance to the Memoria crematorium Waveney Memorial Park (£945). 

Dignity aren’t the only company that appear to be sensitive to the pricing of nearby crematoria – over in Retford, in Nottinghamshire, a 11.00am cremation at Memoria’s Barnby Moor Crematorium is priced at £775,while the Westerleigh owned Babworth Crematorium, two and a half miles away, charges £825. 

These are among the lowest prices charged by either operator; all of Memoria’s other crematoria charge between £930 – £1,090, while Westerleigh has one crematorium charging less (Aylesbury Vale Crematorium at £699) and 35 other crematoria charging between £850 – £1,115. (The Westerleigh crematorium at Aylesbury Vale is just three miles from Bierton Crematorium which is operated by three local councils and charges a cremation fee of £700.)

It is clear that a large part of the cremation fee charged by crematoria is the hire fee for the ceremony space, as there are significantly discounted fees for early morning and unattended cremations – most crematoria charge between £350 – £500 for a direct cremation, but as the majority of people still choose to hold a ceremony, the disparity across the country in prices of the cremation fees that families are required to pay is shocking.

Setting aside the coincidence of (extraordinarily) similar fees to close competitors or sister crematoria in some locations, the range of prices charged by the same operators in different areas and the very significant difference between the lowest and highest fees around the country, the situation of crematorium fees is more concerning in the light of initiatives from two of the cremation companies:

Pure Cremation Ltd (they of the cutesy daytime TV adverts) operate Charlton Park Crematorium, which is where the cremations arranged under their nationwide direct cremation service are carried out. 

The crematorium can also be used by families not employing Pure Cremation, and prices range from £450 for a direct cremation to £900 for an hour in the ceremony room. 

So far, so par for the course. Until you see the advertisements placed by Pure Cremation in the trade magazines for the funeral sector.

What the company is offering to funeral directors that partner with them is a preferential cremation fee  – £250 where the funeral director delivers the coffin to Charlswood Park, and collects the cremated remains by appointment,  £350 where the Pure Cremation team collect the coffin from the funeral home and return the cremated remains by hand.

The copy on their website page for partners states ‘Some people only want the simplest direct cremation at the lowest possible cost but would prefer to be looked after by a local firm. Our low cremation fees mean that you can say “Yes” to serving these families at a price that they feel good about… yet still achieves a healthy margin for you.’

This sounds excellent from a client’s point of view; a local funeral director service, an efficient direct cremation and the cremated remains returned to them. All at the lowest possible price (assuming that the saving on the cremation fee is passed on by the funeral company concerned, of course).

It also makes it clear that the actual cost of cremating an adult is less than £250.

Otherwise, Pure Cremations wouldn’t be offering this service at this price.

Memoria appear to have been similarly struck by inspiration at the idea of partnering with funeral directors, although they have a slightly different take on it. They are also offering discounted cremation fees to select funeral directors – £300 in this case for direct cremations, £400 for small, attended funeral ceremonies before 11.00am.

A letter from former owner and current Group CEO, Howard Hodgson, landed on the doormats of funeral directors recently, notifying them of an upcoming Memoria TV advertising campaign promoting ‘affordable, local and attended cremation funeral services as an alternative to direct cremation’, and inviting them to become a Memoria Brand Partner.

According to the FAQ’s on the website, a Memoria Brand Partner is ‘a funeral director who works exclusively with Memoria to offer the attended local funeral service – the Personal Funeral Service – to bereaved families as an alternative to Direct Cremation. Memoria is also to be their exclusive provider of their direct cremations.’

Brand Partners will benefit from ‘preferential cremation fees for both Direct Cremation (£300) and the Personal Funeral Service (£400)’ as well as branded marketing material and the backing of Memoria TV and digital advertising at no cost to their business.

Somewhat less appealing to most funeral directors, perhaps, is the fact that Memoria will, as part of the contractual arrangement required in exchange for the preferential cremation fees, set the total price of the Direct Cremation and Personal Funeral Service – £990 and £1,395 respectively. 

It seems to us that this initiative by Memoria is not just an attempt to push back at the rise of direct cremation by promoting low cost, attended funerals, but it is also an attempt to enlist sufficient funeral directors to carry out the logistics of the ‘arranging’ elements of a funeral by enticing them to sign up as exclusive partners with discounted cremation fees. (Something similar was attempted by Memoria’s sister company, Low Cost Funerals, now rebranded as Affordable Funerals and listed at Companies House with the same directors as Memoria. Affordable Funerals already offer Direct Cremations and Personal Funeral Services at the same prices as those that we’ll see advertised by Memoria and their partners over the coming months).

The prices charged to non-affiliated funeral directors for direct cremations are listed as £450 at each of the Memoria crematoria, 50% higher than the £300 fee that Brand Partners will be charged for each cremation. 

For small funeral directors, this is a significant amount to offset as part of their total package price. It could render it impossible for non-affiliated funeral directors to compete in price against companies who sign up as a Memoria Brand Partner – the former would have to provide all the services involved in organising a cremation for £540 after paying the £450 cremation fee, while the Brand Partner would have £690 left to cover the costs of overheads, staff, vehicles, coffin supply, insurance and so forth. 

Effectively, Memoria’s initiative could make it impossible for small funeral businesses to offer direct cremations at a competitive rate in areas where there are no other crematoria available and where other funeral directors are partnering with Memoria and receiving discounted cremation fees. If this happens, then the ultimate loser will be the bereaved people whose choices will have been diminished.

So, what have we learned from this long (and possibly quite boring) deep dive into cremation fees? Mainly the following:

  • That private companies are doing what they are supposed to do, i.e., making money.
  • That an individual cremation can be carried out for under £250, with the company providing the service still making money from it.
  • And that bereaved families are being charged an extraordinarily huge amount of money for the room hire for their funeral ceremonies. More than £800 an hour in some cases!

Armed with this knowledge, what can the public do?

We recommend – as always – asking a lot of questions before committing yourself to making funeral arrangements with any company. Think about what matters to you, make a list of things that you want to know, then call funeral directors and ask them. 

If you are planning to have a funeral ceremony prior to cremation, you could explore the possibility of hiring a venue for the ceremony then arranging for the cremation to take place separately, perhaps early the following day at a reduced rate. 

You may find that you can hire a village hall for the whole day for a ceremony and a reception for less than the cost of a 40-minute ceremony in a crematorium chapel. Or your local pub might be willing to let you book it for the day and have a ceremony in the garden. Maybe you or a relative have space to hold a ceremony at home? You do not need to be confined to holding a ceremony at a crematorium. Once you begin to think of alternative places and spaces, all kinds of possibilities may occur to you.

You could enquire about other crematoria rather than the one closest to you – do a Google search for ‘crematorium in *your area’. Look at the crematoria websites, they all list prices for both funeral services and for direct cremations, and many will show different fees for different times of the day. Often, local authority owned and run crematoria will charge less than the privately owned ones, although not always.

All funeral directors are required to list the fees of their local crematoria on their Standardised Price List which must be shown on their website, so you may be able to get an idea of costs in your area by checking these, but then double check with the crematorium itself in case fees have changed recently.

You may be considering a direct cremation? If so, be particularly wary of companies advertising themselves as direct cremation providers online. 

We will be writing about this subject in detail in a dedicated blog post in the coming weeks, but for now we can summarise by recommending you always approach a company with a physical presence, a proper funeral director rather than an internet-based provider. Ask them exactly where the cremation will take place, and when. Ask for a breakdown of their advertised ‘direct cremation’ fee. Ask them if they and their staff will take the coffin to the crematorium, or if this part of their service is subcontracted. Ask them if any part of their service is subcontracted, and if so, to whom.

Remember, you are the client. You are paying for a service, and you have every right to know what you are paying for.

Honour restored at Honor Oak Crematorium


Guest post by Louise Winter

Back in April last year, we exposed the condition of the conveniences at Honor Oak Crematorium in South East London – peeling paint, a toilet held together by chewing gum and floors covered in used tissue paper.
Earlier this year, I was delighted to be invited back to Honor Oak to see, not only the newly refurbished conveniences, but the refurbished crematorium as a whole.  The chapel, waiting room, memorial rooms and gardens have all been renovated, making the most of a calming light blue and grey colour scheme throughout.  There’s even Dyson air blade hand dryers.
Honor Oak is an Italianate crematorium, built in 1939, with a chimney that resembles the cathedral campanile at Venice.  It was designed by Borough Architect William Bell and Maurice Webb, son of Sir Aston Webb, whose company had designed the adjoining Camberwell New Cemetery.  The crematoria around South East London mostly and unusually have descending catafalques, and Honor Oak is no exception.  
Just don’t lean any floral tributes against the base of the catafalque before it descends and the lid meets the floor.  I learnt that the hard way.

Best Crematorium in the UK 2017

                                     The team from Memoria Ltd.

This category had a good field of entrants this year, with 13 finalists and entries citing facilities, environmental issues, service times, fees, bereavement services, training, events and grounds maintenance.

Selecting a winner from among these entries was not easy, and the judges ended up with three deserving runners up which all deserve mention.

The winner was decided both on the quality of facilities and staff and the testimonials from families and funeral directors:

Winner: South Oxfordshire Crematorium and Memorial Park

Runners up: Kettering Crematorium, Mortlake Crematorium and Seven Hills Crematorium


Category sponsor: Scattering Ashes

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

Crematorium Assistant of the Year


‘Brass boy’ aka Steve Biggs, of Mortlake Crematorium


Steve Biggs has worked as a Chapel Attendant and Crematorium Technician at Mortlake Crematorium, London for three years. There are a great many people in crematoria throughout the country doing Steve’s job and, like Steve, many of them are unsung heroes, too.  It was a hard choice for the judges to choose one from the deserving nominees, but finally Steve was chosen as this year’s Crematorium Assistant of the Year on the strength of this touching testimonial from a colleague:

“Steve is affectionately known as Brass boy! When Steve is on chapel duty you will see him rubbing the brass door handles, door plates and brass on the catafalque vigorously before the first service in the chapel.

“Steve is particularly sensitive to the needs of bereaved parents. Little baby coffins used to be placed on a very old wooden oak board. He transformed this by carving a heart into the solid oak and cleaned and polished it. For each baby funeral he carefully places tea lights and flowers around the board. He selects appropriate and different music for each and every funeral when parents are unable to attend.

“There was an old wooden cross that used to be placed above the catafalque. The cross was often removed for one service and then need to be put back for the next service. This was done by athletically leaping onto the catafalque and placing on a ledge. This does not look respectful in the chapel and was dangerous. Steve cleverly altered a beautiful oak 5’candle holder to hold a brass cross which could be moved easily and looked in keeping with the chapel and lecterns. Of course he polished it too!

“If nobody is attending the service Steve will select music for the person and attend the service, showing respect by bowing as the curtains close. Of course if someone has asked for no music and no service he carried out their wishes. He carries out the family’s or indeed the deceased’s wishes to the highest standard he can, without judgement or opinion.

“Whilst working in the crematory he cleans and polishes the stainless steel. Having a clean chapel and crematorium shows respect for families and the deceased.

“His colleagues love him because he bakes great cakes and sausage rolls. So the numerous diets that are started often come to an end if Steve appears with a tub of homemade chocolate shortbread or freshly made bread. Steve may be 6’2 with a booming voice but he is a gentleman and more importantly he is a kind and caring. He is moved on many occasions by the grief he comes across. His response to this is to do everything he can to look after those people, often these little touches go unnoticed but not by us.

“In the three years he has been at Mortlake Steve has completed his Crematorium Technicians Training Scheme, passed his advanced Cremator Technicians certificate, and passed 3 modules of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management diploma all with distinctions.”


Runner Up in this category: Carolyne Reeve of Teesside Crematorium

Good news for Dignity shareholders


Bereaved families in the Oxford area may be a little less pleased to know that the cost of having a relative cremated at their local Dignity owned crematorium will be £999 from next week onwards.

Just a short journey towards London, a cremation at South West Middlesex Crematorium will cost £490 (source Funeralbooker report on UK Cremation Costs here).

We wonder whether it is just Oxford, or all 43 Dignity owned and operated crematoria that are hiking up their prices?

Quoting from Dignity’s Annual Reports & Accounts 2015:

We are the largest single operator of crematoria in Britain with a growing portfolio of well-established and state of the art crematoria that meet the needs of the local communities we serve. In 2015, we carried out 57,700 cremations representing 9.8 per cent of total estimated deaths in Britain”

57,000 x £999…… just under £56 million according to the GFG intern who was a whizz at maths.

Funeral poverty anyone?


Is this the worst crematorium in Britain?

Every year we celebrate the best of the funeral industry with the Good Funeral Awards.  There isn’t a ‘Worst Crematorium of the Year” award but if there was such an accolade, we have a strong contender.

Introducing our readers to West London Crematorium, as photographed on Thursday 30th June 2016.

Decaying curtains, stained carpets, seating you wouldn’t want to sit on, general disrepair and so much more.

Shoddy’s a good word.  As is lazy.  So is unacceptable.  All befit the state of this crematorium.

Our question: Is this the worst crematorium in Britain?  It’s over to you.

West London Crematorium
Kensal Green, Harrow Road, London, W10 4RA
Owned and managed by the General Cemetery Company
Cost of cremation: £650

Ed’s note – we’ve contacted the General Cemetery Company and asked for a response.  We’ll keep you updated.  

Keeping an eye on the costs

Hats off to independent funeral booking website Funeralbooker for publishing their findings on the costs of funeral disbursements.
Funeral poverty shows no sign of abating as new data reveals the most expensive crematoria and cemeteries in the UK
Key points:
Beckenham in Kent; Crawley and Chichester in West Sussex; Leatherhead in Surrey and Nuneaton in Warwickshire all tie for first place as the locations of the most expensive crematoria in the UK – with cremation costing a staggering £956.
The cheapest place to be cremated in the UK is the City of Belfast Crematorium, where it costs just £364.
Prices are set by local councils for public facilities or by private companies, like Dignity PLC, for the privately owned  ones.
Around one third of the entire cost of a funeral is for cremation; around half if a burial is opted for.
They have collated the costs of every cemetery and crematorium for 2015 and 2016 and produced four data-sets with searchable maps.
When it comes to burial, London takes the top slot, with four cemeteries in Wandsworth all charging £4,561 apiece.
Northern Ireland again is the cheapest place in the UK to be buried.
There have also been massive, above-inflation rises in costs for both burial and cremation.  At Crownhill crematorium in Milton Keynes, prices have risen by 29.7%, year on year. The crematorium is owned by the local authority, as are the other crematoria on the list with the largest price rises.
It’s the same story when it comes to burials. North Watford Cemetery in London tops the list with prices increasing by 49.1% this year compared to 2015.
“Cuts in council funding may mean that many councils are turning to crematoriums and cemeteries to balance the books –  these price increases could be a hidden cost of austerity” said James Dunn, the co-founder of Funeralbooker.
2016 UK Burial Cost % increases from 2015
2016 UK Cremation Cost % increases from 2015

Do you know?


Wednesday’s Budget contained the above intriguing announcement. What’s going on here?

There may be a clue in the small print of the 2015 Budget (which we clean missed) when the Chancellor announced:

The Government will conduct a review into the size and provision of crematoria facilities to make sure they are fit for purpose and sensitive to the needs of all users and faiths. The Government will also review cremation legislation and coroner services.

“All users and faiths.” Is this something to do with provision for Hindus and Sikhs?

Or with the rising cost of funerals, much commented on by the media in the summer?

Who is being consulted?

What outcome is the Government seeking?

All info + suggestions gratefully received.

All fine by who?

Here’s something that’s been bobbling in my mind for ages. Finally, spurred by a newspaper story announcing that Grimbsy crematorium is going to fine funeral directors £159 if a service overruns, I sprang into action. I wrote to the crematorium manager:

I see that NE Lincs Council has announced a surcharge of £159 in the event of a service overrunning at Grimsby crematorium. It is my understanding that this charge is to be levied on funeral directors.

Inasmuch as it is the applicant for cremation who is the client of the crematorium, may I ask why the charge is not to be levied on applicants? A funeral director is, contractually, no more than the agent of the applicant, who is the lawful possessor of the corpse and responsible for its disposal.

Here’s the meaty part of the reply. The bold is mine:

It has been discussed with Funeral Directors and Service Users at meetings that the fine will be passed to the Funeral Director, as they are our client and it is their responsibility to pass it on to either the person taking the service or the family.

I consulted learned authorities in the industry. With whom does a crematorium have a contractual relationship, the applicant or the undertaker? There was no unanimity of response. However, it rapidly became clear that crematoria in general consider the undertaker to be their client.

This puzzles me. The undertaker doesn’t pay the damn bill.

Let’s go one stage back and examine an undertaker’s contractual relationship with the applicant.

This is where we need to get up close to the meaning of words. Specifically, does an undertaker act on behalf of an applicant for cremation or on the instruction of the applicant?

It looks like hairsplitting, I know, but there’s a difference. If the undertaker were empowered to act on behalf of the applicant, he/she would represent the applicant in the role of substitute.

But (and it’s a huge but) in all important aspects of an application for cremation an undertaker is not empowered to act on behalf of a client. An undertaker cannot assume lawful possession of a body, nor register the death, nor undertake responsibility for disposing of the body in accordance with the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953. This is why an undertaker cannot apply for cremation on behalf of a client — cannot sign the application form pp. The law holds the lawful possessor of the body (ie, the client) to be exclusively responsible for all these things.

This being so, the job of an undertaker is to attend to those parts of the process which the lawful possessor doesn’t want to do and is allowed by law to depute. The law does allow an undertaker to take the completed application form plus other paperwork to the crematorium, which amounts to no more than an errand.

Did I say that the undertaker doesn’t pay the bill? Of course s/he doesn’t. The undertaker merely advances the money from his/her own pocket before reclaiming it from the applicant for cremation.

Undertakers like to boast of how they voluntarily advance thousands of pounds of unsecured credit to their clients. Don’t feel sorry for them: it’s a rod they’ve made for their own backs. The reason they don’t require an applicant for cremation to write a cheque to accompany the application for cremation, and then drive out to the crematorium themselves and deliver it, is because their business model depends on relieving a client of all burdens, the better to create work for themselves and make themselves indispensable. In the matter of paying the crematorium bill it is a risk they run voluntarily. It is self-inflicted.

This suits crematoria, obviously. Minimal admin, no bad debt to chase. Has it made them lazy?

It has certainly led to anomalies. For example, why do cemeteries always send a grave deed direct to the personal representative? Ans: Because they don’t think it right for the undertaker to be given the deed and, potentially, retain it against payment of the funeral bill by the owner.

Let’s not get sidetracked. If crematoria were to recognise who their real client is and act on it, what difference would it make?

It would likely have a very great and wholly beneficial influence on their service culture. Bereavement Services staff tend to be passive hosts of funerals, yet they are the ones who play the greater enduring role by facilitating commemorative observances through the provision of memorialisation options — Garden of Remembrance, Book of Remembrance, plaques, benches, services of remembrance, etc. A crematorium carries on being of value to many bereaved people long after the FD’s work is done. A more proactive hospitality role at the funeral stage is both desirable and appropriate, together with a full and proper focus on the needs of the bereaved. Crematoria need to announce themselves to applicants as soon as they receive the paperwork.

I could develop this. Another day, perhaps.

A good cremation funeral depends on a cooperative relationship between the applicant, the undertaker, the celebrant and the crematorium. It’s important to say that.

But, sorry, any fine for overrunning needs to be sent to where the buck stops. The client. 

As is proper in a blog post I have presented an unbalanced and incomplete argument. Please put me right below.

Are you a charitable body?

Posted by Ken West 

Have you thought about the scrap metal value of your body? It began with metal hip joints but as we live longer and spend more time falling over and head butting the skirting boards, metal bone splints now outweigh the hips. Body piercing has added tongue studs and navel rings, not to mention those bits dangling in the erogenous zones. A little bite is added by gold molars and, a fact that surprises me, all that jewellery people still leave on the body. Following cremation, this metal remains in the ashes, but do they tell you what they do with it?    

About half of the UK crematoria, often those who have adopted the Charter for the Bereaved, send the metal residue for recycling through a scheme organised by the Institute for Cemetery & Crematorium Management (ICCM).  Much of it is unrecognisable as aggregate, usually the gold and silver, all of which melt when the temperature reaches 1100C. But alloys, like hip joints and plates, retain their shape and uniformity. There are few firms capable of smelting this residue, which is taken to a very high temperature and the various metals skimmed off as appropriate, the ingots being sold back into the metal market. After collecting the waste metal from participating crematoria, the contracted firm pay an agreed price per kilo to the ICCM and this is distributed to charities nominated by the participating crematoria. The sum will be around one million pounds in 2014. 

What happens at those crematoria who do not participate, half of the total, a further million pounds? Many of these are the private sector crematoria, the ones who say nothing about metal residue on their websites. Worse, do they still bury the metal in the crematorium grounds, which was usual until a few years ago? If so, this is a potential pollution hazard.

Be a charitable body, and ask your local crematorium whether your bits will benefit society.