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Govt. review

What to do with the metal remains of the dead

Published måndag 28 maj 2012 kl 18.41
Swedish church and the Swedish federation of Cemeteries and Crematoria want to recycle the metal parts. Photo: Jessica Gow/Scanpix

The government will investigate how the metal remains of humans should be handled, reports news agency TT.

Seventy thousand people are cremated every year in Sweden. But all the remains are not burned off. What is left, is 22 tons of metal per year, which according to the current law, cannot be recycled.

The metal that is left after cremation consists of reserve parts for human beings. These are knee and hip joints and thigh bones that are often made of strong, expensive metal like titanium.

Cemeteries and crematoria treat the metal remains differently – many bury it.

"We want the metal to be recycled. We're talking about a lot of metal that's worth a lot. To just bury it doesn't feel right," Stefan Attefall, the Minister for Public Administration and Housing, tells news agency TT.

The industry itself has suggested selling the metal and donating it to charity.

The government review will also look into new burial methods, besides traditional burials and cremation.

One example, is freeze drying, a new form of burial that uses liquid nitrogen. The Swedish Tax Agency has already said no to this method, but the government wants to review the procedure.

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