Please be advised that Eirene is no longer a licensed provider of at-need and prepaid cremation arrangements. If you have previously used Eirene's services, please call +1-647-951-4195 or email for further information.

What container does cremation ashes come in if you don't buy an urn?

And, can I use the container permanently or for scattering?

If you've never received cremation ashes before you might wonder what container they come in if you don't buy an urn

When the cremation process is completed, funeral providers or crematoriums put the cremated remains in a plastic bag, and that plastic bag is placed inside a temporary urn.

These containers are provided by direct cremation companies like Eirene and funeral homes. Below is everything you need to know about temporary cremation urns.

What is a temporary urn?

Did you know Eirene provides cremation services to families?

In some cases, a funeral provider may put the ashes in the container directly. However, the plastic bag serves as a layer of protection for the ashes and helps minimize the chance of spilling them. Additionally, it can make it easier to transfer ashes to another vessel.

What is a temporary urn made from? 

A temporary urn can be made from almost anything. However, it is often made from cheaper materials since it is not usually meant to be a permanent option.

These urns are often made from plastic (or plastic material such as acrylic) or cardboard but can also be made from metals such as tin.  

What do temporary urns look like?

Temporary urns are often square or rectangular shaped, with a lid. The colour varies depending on the material used. However, they are likely to be one solid colour with little to no design on the outside of the box.

Usually, these urns are designed to hold about 200 cubic inches of cremated remains (which means it would be able to hold the ashes from an individual approximately 200 lbs or less - learn more here). Dimensions can vary, but the most common one is approximately 8.5” wide by 6.5” tall by 4.5” deep. This size may also be different for non-adults and pet remains.

How much does it cost? 

In many cases, the cost for a temporary urn is complimentary, or a small fee is included in the cremation package offered by the funeral provider or crematorium. 

The price depends on the material used. However, a plastic or cardboard container can be as low as 50 cents and usually does not cost over $5. A metal one is typically around $10. 

Can I use it permanently or to scatter ashes? 

As the name suggests, a temporary urn is designed to hold ashes temporarily after cremation. It is also meant to make transferring the ashes to a permanent urn easier.

Although it is commonplace to have the ashes put in a temporary urn, it is possible to skip this step entirely. Many providers will put ashes in a permanent urn you choose if provided beforehand. This is a service we provide at Eirene.

Some companies will only allow this if the urn was purchased directly from the company; however, many will offer it even if an urn is purchased elsewhere. If no urn is provided, a temporary urn is the default.

These urns are not designed to be on display in your home, niches, or columbarium. They are simple in design, and the material used is not made to be long-lasting. However, it is up to you if you would like to use it permanently. 

For example, it is an excellent option if you choose to scatter or bury ashes. When scattering ashes, the urn is use used to temporarily hold the ashes. Therefore, there is no need for an elaborately designed urn. This is the same if you are  burying an urn. By default, temporary urns are often made of biodegradable material, which is preferred for burials.   

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Do you have a question about funeral urns or cremation? Ask our experts for advice. Email us at or contact us via phone. Or to make cremation arrangements click here.