I was asked the question recently: “I have surgically implanted pins put in my body, what happens to them when I get cremated?”
The purpose of cremation is the process of breaking down a deceased human body by a process of extreme heat and vaporization.
When a body is being prepared for cremation, it is typically placed in a wooden, leak-proof container or sometimes wooden casket.
A computer-controlled incinerator or furnace that the body is placed in can reach temperatures upward of 950 C.
The retort, as it is known, is the chamber inside the furnace where the body is placed.
It is only designed to hold one body at a time and is lined with refractory bricks that are heat-resistant.
The body is then reduced to bone fragments taking about three hours.
Once cooled all metals including handles and screws from a casket to the surgical implants like metal hips joints and sockets are removed by hand or magnetically.
The bone fragments are then ground to a very fine consistency using an electric cremated remains processor and the cremated remains are placed in an urn.
The metal byproducts collected by the crematory operator are then sent to an implant recycling center in Detroit Michigan. Implant Recycling LLC sorts and costs out the metals in their laboratories and donates that value to the charity of the crematorium’s choice.
The advantages to this system means the crematory operators will have an industry-accepted, efficient, legal and environmentally sensitive method for the disposal of metallic byproducts and will inevitably reduce the amount of energy needed to make new parts while at the same time reducing landfill needs.
Materials collected by Implant Recycling will never be sold into markets that will reuse them for orthopedic purposes without first being recycled and remelted into ingots. Implementing a controlled recycling program reduces theft.
Materials with a propensity for being stolen can no longer be illegally sold to junk brokers.
This is our green method of recycling that will ultimately benefit our community and the environment.
Ron Malmas is the manager and funeral director/embalmer Compassionate Care Funeral Home.
If you have any questions for a future column, contact him at 250-392-3336.