Managing end-of-life arrangements can be difficult. Often one must oversee funeral preparations, memorial services, estate sales, and much more. Thankfully during this difficult time, there are safe, reliable, and responsible resources to help you carry out these standard provisions, as well as oversee those less familiar functions. Recycling hip replacements and other implants, for example, has become a charitable industry in which the bereaved can take comfort.
Few know or consider what should be done with implants and prosthetics after a loved one has passed. In today’s growing and populous world, it is important that these items be disposed of responsibly and ecologically. Should you choose to employ a cremation process, rest assured that many services exist to recycle these remaining elements.
Recycling Hip Replacements
Hip replacements are among the most common implants that require special disposition processes. A niche market has emerged for recycling hip replacements after cremation. Hospitals, crematoriums, funeral homes, and third-party recycling organizations work together in recovering the replacement joints and repurposing them.
How It Works
Before recycling any implants, crematoriums and recycling agencies will always seek the family’s consent. Funeral directors or crematorium staff will generally walk through the process with loved ones and answer any questions you may have.
After the cremation process, the metals are separated from the skeletal remains. Most often they are melted down for brand new implants or sold to other metals industries. Such industries range from aircraft manufacturers to roadway construction. The profits from these sales are then donated to charity.
OrthoMetals, a Dutch company that receives the recyclable material, has been known to repurpose over 75 tons of metal in one year. Over 700 crematoriums work with OrthoMetals, and their services are all free of charge. Their team will provide any materials needed for proper sorting and collecting, as well as handle all transportation to their facilities.
Why Responsible Disposal is Important
Before such recycling schemes, metals from hip replacements and other prosthetics were simply being buried in the ground. Not only was this wasteful, but some buried metals are bad for the environment. Most hip replacements are made of titanium, a metal which does not break down naturally. Since the popular adoption of this recycling process, millions of dollars have been donated to charity, and thousands of new joints have been manufactured responsibly.
Recycling Around the World
Thanks to the success of these programs, thousands of crematoriums around the world are recycling hip replacements and other prosthetics. The United States, the UK, and Australia are among the highest contributors to this growing industry, and many participating crematoriums perform over 2,000 cremations every year.