Picking out a cremation urn is often a meaningful decision for many people and is an important part of the memorial process for a loved one. However if you later choose to scatter the ashes, an urn is not be the final resting place and there may be uncertainty over what to do with the empty urn afterwards. Here is a list of ideas for things you can do with an empty urns after scattering ashes.
A great way to honour your loved one is to use their empty urn as a flower vase, especially if the deceased person was fond of flowers and plants. You can fill the vase with water and put flowers in there temporarily, or you can fill it with soil and plant a flower instead. For example, planting the favourite flower or plant of the deceased person can be an excellent way to remind you of them.
If you choose to do this, it is essential to consider what the urn is made from. For example, wood urns may be more susceptible to leakage or rot. Whereas a material such as glass or ceramic may work better. This is something that can be discussed with a funeral provider beforehand.
Another great way to honour your loved ones is to keep the urn in memory of them. There are many ways in which this can be done. A great option would be to fill the urn with mementos and souvenirs that belonged to the deceased person or were related to the deceased (e.g., jewelry, keychains, etc.). This can be something you keep for yourself, or it can be displayed in your home for others to see.
For some, reusing an urn may seem like an odd idea, especially if the urn was picked out specifically for an individual. However, it can be a great way to reduce cost and environmental footprint by minimizing the resources needed to make a new urn.
Reusing an urn can also create a new tradition. Urns can be passed down for generations and can be a unique way to create a connection with family members after death.
Urns can be expensive, especially when added to the other expenses from funeral services. Donating the urn to someone or giving it away (e.g., thrift shop) is a great way to help reduce some of these costs for a future family. It can allow other families to honour and memorialize their loved ones for free or at a fraction of the cost.
It is crucial that when choosing this option to disclose that the urn is used beforehand. Additionally, it is best to keep the ashes in a plastic bag when using it to avoid direct contact with the inside of the urn. Some may not have a problem with the ashes being put directly in the urn, while others might. Therefore, it is important to be upfront if choosing this option.
Another unique way to use urns after scattering is to repurpose them. They can be used for organization, as a decorative art piece, as an art project, and more. Urns can be extremely versatile, from a piggy bank to an ashtray. There are many options, and the choice is up to the family.
For some, the urn is just a temporary holding space for scattered ashes. Therefore, buying expensive and elaborate pieces is not necessary. If you do not have plans for what to do with an urn afterward, it may be easier and more cost-effective to buy a simple urn (see these plastic urns or paper urns). A biodegradable urn can also be discarded or recycled later.