Guildford crematorium sells metal body parts for charity

metal hip joint (generic)
Image caption Some metals can be recycled and used to manufacture new implants

A crematorium in Surrey has raised money for charity by recycling metal body parts.

With consent from relatives, Guildford crematorium has sold metal items, such as orthopaedic implants, for scrap.

Traditionally any metal left after the cremation process would be given back to relatives or buried, but the new alternative is to recycle it.

Guildford crematorium has now been able to donate about £5,000 to the Shooting Star CHASE children's hospice.

Nick Sutcliffe, lead councillor for environmental services at Guildford Borough Council, said: "You are dealing with metals that were doing a very important job and are of a structural nature that has survived the cremation process, essentially they can then be recycled by being melted down."

'Sensitive subject'

There is a specific consent form dealing with metal body parts which forms part of the paperwork that family and friends sign as part of a cremation.

According to Mr Sutcliffe, most people did not want the metal implants back.

"Only three people over the past decade have actually asked for the orthopaedic remains to be given back to them," said Mr Sutcliffe.

"Most people are quite happy now for the recycling system."

Tim Morris, from the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, which runs the scheme, said: "A specialist company collects the metal, it's sorted, smelted and the higher grade metal actually goes back to two companies that manufacture new implants.

"It's a very sensitive subject but if you consult with the bereaved and seek their consent, and if they are OK with theses schemes and initiatives, then it seems OK to go ahead.

"If they weren't and didn't give consent it wouldn't be done."

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