Southampton families to be given ashes of cremated loved ones in cardboard urns

Daily Echo: Funeral director Matthew Allen with the ‘eco-urn’, left, and the more traditional plastic type Funeral director Matthew Allen with the ‘eco-urn’, left, and the more traditional plastic type

THEY have been used for decades to collect the ashes of our loved ones.

The traditional urn has been the chosen vessel to safely store the treasured remains of family and friends.

But the familiar plastic urn is being scrapped in Southampton to make way for a more environmentally friendly flat-pack cardboard box.

Grieving families across the city will no longer have the ashes of their loved ones returned to them in an urn, as council bosses ditch tradition in favour of going green.

The controversial move has sparked anger among some mourners but Southampton City Council said the switch to the “tastefully designed” eco-urns came after they found themselves lumbered with more and more urns returned to them by families and funeral directors.

The new specially designed biodegradable box is made from renewable resources which can be easily recycled and safely buried in the ground.

Their green credentials are boosted by the fact that 3,000 cardboard units can be delivered in a van, rather than an HGV lorry, which was needed to deliver the same amount of plastic urns. The smaller van gives off fewer emissions, resulting in a reduction of the council’s carbon footprint.

But while they may be saving the environment they are not saving council cash, with each box costing £1.27 – 1p more than the traditional urn.

A spokesman for the City Council said: “We started using ecourns after a short consultation with the funeral directors, as many crematoria now use them.

“These eco-urns are tastefully designed and made from renewable materials. Southampton City Council chose to move away from plastic urns because they are not environmentally friendly and we want to reduce our carbon footprint.”

But grieving families shocked to have their relatives returned in a cardboard eco-urn have not been won round by their environmental benefits.

Keith Pullen, from Plymouth, recently lost his mother, Eileen, who lived in Romsey. She was cremated at Southampton Crematorium. He said: “I was shocked and upset to find my mother’s ashes returned in a cardboard box. I don’t think saying it is better for the environment is a good enough reason to treat people with so much disrespect.”

Southampton is not alone.

Local authorities across the country are adopting the more environmentally friendly option.

The privately run Wessex Vale Crematorium, in West End, told the Daily Echo they have been using eco-friendly boxes since October and mourners have accepted them. Deputy manager Eugene Tyrrell said: “We know that Eastleigh is a very environmentally friendly borough so we wanted to do our bit and opted to use these new bio-degradable cardboard boxes.

“We have chosen to use burgundy ones and the reaction from families has been really positive.”

Portchester Crematorium works slightly differently and uses whatever the funeral directors give them.

This is not the death knell for the traditional urn though, as relatives can still opt for one by arranging it with their funeral director.

Michael Peace, of AH Cheater Ltd Romsey, said: “It’s standard for the ashes to be given to us from the crematorium in a box.

“However, if customers would like a traditional urn they can arrange that through their funeral director.”

Additional reporting by Melanie Adams

Comments (15)

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6:55pm Wed 9 Feb 11

freefinker says...

.. R C Payne!!!
Haemorrhoids?
.. R C Payne!!! Haemorrhoids? freefinker
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Wed 9 Feb 11

sparkster says...

So the plastic spaghetti holder type urns are being scrapped in favour of cardboard boxes for ashes, disgusting. If I had ashes of my relatives handed to me in a cardboard box i'd demand a proper urn, whatever next a paper bag!!!!! What is happenening to our traditions of proper urns do the dead deserve no respect? Mary Hamble
So the plastic spaghetti holder type urns are being scrapped in favour of cardboard boxes for ashes, disgusting. If I had ashes of my relatives handed to me in a cardboard box i'd demand a proper urn, whatever next a paper bag!!!!! What is happenening to our traditions of proper urns do the dead deserve no respect? Mary Hamble sparkster
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Wed 9 Feb 11

Family Bloke says...

It costs 1p more to have a box instead of an urn, I suppose that's why SCC have increased the cost of cremations by 20% recently.
It costs 1p more to have a box instead of an urn, I suppose that's why SCC have increased the cost of cremations by 20% recently. Family Bloke
  • Score: 0

7:42pm Wed 9 Feb 11

Linesman says...

sparkster wrote:
So the plastic spaghetti holder type urns are being scrapped in favour of cardboard boxes for ashes, disgusting. If I had ashes of my relatives handed to me in a cardboard box i'd demand a proper urn, whatever next a paper bag!!!!! What is happenening to our traditions of proper urns do the dead deserve no respect? Mary Hamble
I guess it depends on what you intend to do with the ashes.
If you wish to put them on the mantlepiece, I would not have thought that either the old or the new would be suitable for that.
If you wish the ashes to be interred, then something that is biodegradeable makes good sense.
When I go, I would hate to think that anyone would worry about what my ashes were contained in, and the sooner they were scattered, the better.
[quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: So the plastic spaghetti holder type urns are being scrapped in favour of cardboard boxes for ashes, disgusting. If I had ashes of my relatives handed to me in a cardboard box i'd demand a proper urn, whatever next a paper bag!!!!! What is happenening to our traditions of proper urns do the dead deserve no respect? Mary Hamble[/p][/quote]I guess it depends on what you intend to do with the ashes. If you wish to put them on the mantlepiece, I would not have thought that either the old or the new would be suitable for that. If you wish the ashes to be interred, then something that is biodegradeable makes good sense. When I go, I would hate to think that anyone would worry about what my ashes were contained in, and the sooner they were scattered, the better. Linesman
  • Score: 0

7:47pm Wed 9 Feb 11

pod says...

I really don't see the problem, when my dad died and I went to pick up his ashes, I was surprised by the urn (which to be honest looks like a sweetie jar). I transferred him into a wooden box, and then did not know what to do with the urn, after all what can you do with it, it is not as if you can use it again. It is still sitting in my shed, if anyone wants it.
My dad got all the respect he needed in life, we nursed him at home til he died in our arms, he would not have cared what his leftover bits were stored in, the wooden box was for my benefit, not his.
I really don't see the problem, when my dad died and I went to pick up his ashes, I was surprised by the urn (which to be honest looks like a sweetie jar). I transferred him into a wooden box, and then did not know what to do with the urn, after all what can you do with it, it is not as if you can use it again. It is still sitting in my shed, if anyone wants it. My dad got all the respect he needed in life, we nursed him at home til he died in our arms, he would not have cared what his leftover bits were stored in, the wooden box was for my benefit, not his. pod
  • Score: 0

7:52pm Wed 9 Feb 11

X Old Bill says...

Nothing new here - Cardboard containers have been used elsewhere for some time now.
How many people actually keep the ashes?
I would guess that most relatives who ask for the ashes do so in order to scatter them somewhere significant to the deceased.
So, when you have scattered the ashes you now have a box that you can bury, burn or fold up and file.
Previously you had a big plastic tub with a screw top - What can you do with that?
If you wish to retain the ashes then surely you would invest in something more elegant than a plastic tub.
Nothing new here - Cardboard containers have been used elsewhere for some time now. How many people actually keep the ashes? I would guess that most relatives who ask for the ashes do so in order to scatter them somewhere significant to the deceased. So, when you have scattered the ashes you now have a box that you can bury, burn or fold up and file. Previously you had a big plastic tub with a screw top - What can you do with that? If you wish to retain the ashes then surely you would invest in something more elegant than a plastic tub. X Old Bill
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Wed 9 Feb 11

SotonLad says...

sparkster wrote:
So the plastic spaghetti holder type urns are being scrapped in favour of cardboard boxes for ashes, disgusting. If I had ashes of my relatives handed to me in a cardboard box i'd demand a proper urn, whatever next a paper bag!!!!! What is happenening to our traditions of proper urns do the dead deserve no respect? Mary Hamble
Read the story before commenting - you can still opt for the traditional urn.
[quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: So the plastic spaghetti holder type urns are being scrapped in favour of cardboard boxes for ashes, disgusting. If I had ashes of my relatives handed to me in a cardboard box i'd demand a proper urn, whatever next a paper bag!!!!! What is happenening to our traditions of proper urns do the dead deserve no respect? Mary Hamble[/p][/quote]Read the story before commenting - you can still opt for the traditional urn. SotonLad
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Wed 9 Feb 11

southy says...

X Old Bill wrote:
Nothing new here - Cardboard containers have been used elsewhere for some time now.
How many people actually keep the ashes?
I would guess that most relatives who ask for the ashes do so in order to scatter them somewhere significant to the deceased.
So, when you have scattered the ashes you now have a box that you can bury, burn or fold up and file.
Previously you had a big plastic tub with a screw top - What can you do with that?
If you wish to retain the ashes then surely you would invest in something more elegant than a plastic tub.
this bit old bill i think there brains have lock in none working mode.

"The controversial move has sparked anger among some mourners but Southampton City Council said the switch to the “tastefully designed” eco-urns came after they found themselves lumbered with more and more urns returned to them by families and funeral directors."

If they are being returned what the problem, wash them and reuse them, what could be more cheaper than that and more green.
[quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: Nothing new here - Cardboard containers have been used elsewhere for some time now. How many people actually keep the ashes? I would guess that most relatives who ask for the ashes do so in order to scatter them somewhere significant to the deceased. So, when you have scattered the ashes you now have a box that you can bury, burn or fold up and file. Previously you had a big plastic tub with a screw top - What can you do with that? If you wish to retain the ashes then surely you would invest in something more elegant than a plastic tub.[/p][/quote]this bit old bill i think there brains have lock in none working mode. "The controversial move has sparked anger among some mourners but Southampton City Council said the switch to the “tastefully designed” eco-urns came after they found themselves lumbered with more and more urns returned to them by families and funeral directors." If they are being returned what the problem, wash them and reuse them, what could be more cheaper than that and more green. southy
  • Score: 0

9:13pm Wed 9 Feb 11

Condor Man says...

Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.
Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too. Condor Man
  • Score: 0

9:54pm Wed 9 Feb 11

Whitters says...

Simple. Those that pay for a proper urn should get a proper urn.

Those that don't, get a cheap cardboard box.
Simple. Those that pay for a proper urn should get a proper urn. Those that don't, get a cheap cardboard box. Whitters
  • Score: 0

8:38am Thu 10 Feb 11

freemantlegirl2 says...

Condor Man wrote:
Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.
I agree, I wouldn't have minded if my mum's ashes were in an eco-friendly box. We still also have the ruddy plastic one which can't be recycled.

Southy, washing uses energy and uses more carbon footprint.

You've always been able to buy 'posh' urns if you wish to for those that want to keep the ashes so I really don't see what people are complaining about. Surely being in a cardboard box is no different to being in a wooden box, they are still boxes and you're dead (or in a better place depending on your beliefs) so what's the difference?
[quote][p][bold]Condor Man[/bold] wrote: Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.[/p][/quote]I agree, I wouldn't have minded if my mum's ashes were in an eco-friendly box. We still also have the ruddy plastic one which can't be recycled. Southy, washing uses energy and uses more carbon footprint. You've always been able to buy 'posh' urns if you wish to for those that want to keep the ashes so I really don't see what people are complaining about. Surely being in a cardboard box is no different to being in a wooden box, they are still boxes and you're dead (or in a better place depending on your beliefs) so what's the difference? freemantlegirl2
  • Score: 0

8:56am Thu 10 Feb 11

pod says...

freemantlegirl2 wrote:
Condor Man wrote: Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.
I agree, I wouldn't have minded if my mum's ashes were in an eco-friendly box. We still also have the ruddy plastic one which can't be recycled. Southy, washing uses energy and uses more carbon footprint. You've always been able to buy 'posh' urns if you wish to for those that want to keep the ashes so I really don't see what people are complaining about. Surely being in a cardboard box is no different to being in a wooden box, they are still boxes and you're dead (or in a better place depending on your beliefs) so what's the difference?
tell you what fg2, if you have still got yours, and I have still got mine, maybe we should get them together and start up a santuary for unwanted and abandoned urns!!
[quote][p][bold]freemantlegirl2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Condor Man[/bold] wrote: Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.[/p][/quote]I agree, I wouldn't have minded if my mum's ashes were in an eco-friendly box. We still also have the ruddy plastic one which can't be recycled. Southy, washing uses energy and uses more carbon footprint. You've always been able to buy 'posh' urns if you wish to for those that want to keep the ashes so I really don't see what people are complaining about. Surely being in a cardboard box is no different to being in a wooden box, they are still boxes and you're dead (or in a better place depending on your beliefs) so what's the difference?[/p][/quote]tell you what fg2, if you have still got yours, and I have still got mine, maybe we should get them together and start up a santuary for unwanted and abandoned urns!! pod
  • Score: 0

11:50am Thu 10 Feb 11

southy says...

freemantlegirl2 wrote:
Condor Man wrote:
Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.
I agree, I wouldn't have minded if my mum's ashes were in an eco-friendly box. We still also have the ruddy plastic one which can't be recycled.

Southy, washing uses energy and uses more carbon footprint.

You've always been able to buy 'posh' urns if you wish to for those that want to keep the ashes so I really don't see what people are complaining about. Surely being in a cardboard box is no different to being in a wooden box, they are still boxes and you're dead (or in a better place depending on your beliefs) so what's the difference?
if god don't have you then the devil must.
[quote][p][bold]freemantlegirl2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Condor Man[/bold] wrote: Does it really matter? if people want a proper urn they can buy one later. Sounds like a good idea to me, a lot of coffins are cardboard now too.[/p][/quote]I agree, I wouldn't have minded if my mum's ashes were in an eco-friendly box. We still also have the ruddy plastic one which can't be recycled. Southy, washing uses energy and uses more carbon footprint. You've always been able to buy 'posh' urns if you wish to for those that want to keep the ashes so I really don't see what people are complaining about. Surely being in a cardboard box is no different to being in a wooden box, they are still boxes and you're dead (or in a better place depending on your beliefs) so what's the difference?[/p][/quote]if god don't have you then the devil must. southy
  • Score: 0

11:57am Thu 10 Feb 11

X Old Bill says...

southy wrote:
X Old Bill wrote:
Nothing new here - Cardboard containers have been used elsewhere for some time now.
How many people actually keep the ashes?
I would guess that most relatives who ask for the ashes do so in order to scatter them somewhere significant to the deceased.
So, when you have scattered the ashes you now have a box that you can bury, burn or fold up and file.
Previously you had a big plastic tub with a screw top - What can you do with that?
If you wish to retain the ashes then surely you would invest in something more elegant than a plastic tub.
this bit old bill i think there brains have lock in none working mode.

"The controversial move has sparked anger among some mourners but Southampton City Council said the switch to the “tastefully designed” eco-urns came after they found themselves lumbered with more and more urns returned to them by families and funeral directors."

If they are being returned what the problem, wash them and reuse them, what could be more cheaper than that and more green.
Good point - They don't have to be sterilised, ashes are sterile already.
But I have to say that it never even occurred to me to take the plastic tub (aka eco-urn or scatter box) back to the crematorium once it was emptied, that part did surprise me - Now they have told us we will know what to do with the 'urns' stowed in our lofts, sheds etc!
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: Nothing new here - Cardboard containers have been used elsewhere for some time now. How many people actually keep the ashes? I would guess that most relatives who ask for the ashes do so in order to scatter them somewhere significant to the deceased. So, when you have scattered the ashes you now have a box that you can bury, burn or fold up and file. Previously you had a big plastic tub with a screw top - What can you do with that? If you wish to retain the ashes then surely you would invest in something more elegant than a plastic tub.[/p][/quote]this bit old bill i think there brains have lock in none working mode. "The controversial move has sparked anger among some mourners but Southampton City Council said the switch to the “tastefully designed” eco-urns came after they found themselves lumbered with more and more urns returned to them by families and funeral directors." If they are being returned what the problem, wash them and reuse them, what could be more cheaper than that and more green.[/p][/quote]Good point - They don't have to be sterilised, ashes are sterile already. But I have to say that it never even occurred to me to take the plastic tub (aka eco-urn or scatter box) back to the crematorium once it was emptied, that part did surprise me - Now they have told us we will know what to do with the 'urns' stowed in our lofts, sheds etc! X Old Bill
  • Score: 0

10:47pm Thu 10 Feb 11

orange-bud says...

you could decorated & design the box to look like a red DEAL or NO DEAL BOX , or a big die / dice (excuse the pun) lol
even tho death is not a funny matter humour sometimes helps.
so the choices are a box or jar , are you gonna go for the 1p cheaper jar or open the box !
--------------------
-----------------

myself i'd like to have my ashes turned into the sands of an egg timer , at least i could still time an egg boiling. lol
you could decorated & design the box to look like a red DEAL or NO DEAL BOX , or a big die / dice (excuse the pun) lol even tho death is not a funny matter humour sometimes helps. so the choices are a box or jar , are you gonna go for the 1p cheaper jar or open the box ! -------------------- ----------------- myself i'd like to have my ashes turned into the sands of an egg timer , at least i could still time an egg boiling. lol orange-bud
  • Score: 0

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