Common Problems with Biodegradable Urns


Bio Urn

With cremation so popular today, the number of products being sold to accommodate cremains has also skyrocketed. We at Ashes on the Sea handle the urns families purchase from funeral homes.

Families choose a biodegradable urn for several reasons. Sometimes their religion or belief is such that all of the cremains must go in at once. Others simply cannot bear to ‘see’ the cremains. In any case, what the families are expecting from this purchase – a peaceful descent into the sea – can become a horrific ordeal attempting to sink the urn! These families are usually very shocked and disappointed.

Why is this happening? What can you do to help ensure this doesn’t occur?

Learn About the Specific Product


Peaceful Petal Urn on top of the water

All biodegradable urns are not made equal. Some bio urns are only made for earth burial, and will not disintegrate for long periods of time when placed on the water. Make sure that the item purchased is specifically made for ocean burial.

Use the Right Bag!

This is the most common problem we find with biodegradable urns. Someone has not transferred the cremains into the biodegradable bag that usually accompanies the urn. The whole regular plastic bag has been placed into the urn. Because the urn is closed and sealed, no one knows that the internal bag is real plastic, and as a result the urn does not sink. 

When we have to pull the urn back into the boat to ascertain why it isn’t sinking, the effect is quite appalling to the family.

The effect is quite appalling. We have to pull the urn out of the water and open it up to find out why it is not sinking. The urn is already starting to fall apart at this stage. We then have to take the plastic bag out and empty the cremains from the bag. This is exactly what the family was trying to avoid by purchasing the urn.

Funeral Directors – Please Share This with Your Team

While YOU may find it obvious that a biodegradable bag must be used inside a bio urn, it may be good to remind all of your employees and members of your team to double-check the inside bag. It is an easy mistake to make.

We decided to write this piece after another biodegradable urn failed to sink today off the coast of San Diego during a burial at sea. We waited for an hour, but it would not sink.


We are hoping that we can all work together and get the word out to help make this a more pleasant experience for the families we serve!

For more information on how to assemble a biodegradable urn, please see our YouTube Channel.

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