These days in the UK austerity is the order of the day. We are also urged to be environmentally friendly and recycle what we can. The idea behind this is it will save us money and also help the environment.
Some cremation service workers have being doing their bit since 2004 and recycling metal body parts. The Telegraph reports "Steel hips, plates and screws from legs and skulls are collected after a person is cremated and sent off for recycling. Even metal plates from false teeth and tiny fragments from fillings can be recovered and re-used, together with metal fittings on coffins. High value metals which survive the 1000-degree cremation are then sold for use in the automobile and aeronautical industries. They include cobalt and titanium, found in some implants and dental work. Cobalt is used in aircraft engines.
But other less valuable metals are smelted down and sold for more general use - including road signs, motorway barriers and lamp posts. The salvaged metal from cremations is put in large wheelie bins and collected by contractors who take it to specialist plants for recycling.
All good so far? Well sort off but the money raised could surely be used to reduce cremation costs for hard pressed loved ones. The other gripe is that it is a Dutch company behind the recycling scheme. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that the UK could run and manage such companies?
260 UK crematoriums have signed up to the scheme which is currently generating 75 tonnes of metal a year.The bereaved are consulted. Before a cremation the family is asked if they want to keep any metal parts. I imagine most people will say no. Why would you want to a metal knee replacement, for example? Of course if you were asked do you want to sell the parts toward the cost of the funeral you might say yes.
Cemeteries had to find a solution for metal body parts which historically were buried following cremations. New legislation will ban that practice. The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.makes sure recycling schemes meet strict criteria.
According to the Telegraph "The project has raised almost £1million for charity since it began in Britain in 2004" and of course it has utilised metal and prevented waste.