How Much Do Ashes Weigh After Cremation?

There are various options for what to do with someone's body following their passing. Some options include a traditional burial, donating the body to science, or cremation, according to DeathWithDignity.

According to CNN, cremation is the more popular form of body disposition over a traditional burial service, in the U.S.  Over 50% of people opted for cremation while a little more than 43% of people had a traditional burial. 

The New York Times cites a few reasons why cremation is becoming more popular in recent years. One reason is cost: Typically it's cheaper to cremate a body than to bury it. Another reason cited is that the U.S. is becoming less religious: People are more willing to deviate from burial rules of differing religions. The New York Times also reported in 2016 that the Vatican recognized the popularity of cremation and said it was permissible, as long as the ashes are buried together and not spread around.

The cremation process

As noted by Funeralwise, there are several steps involved in cremating a body. The first step is about making sure that there's proper permission and authorization to start the process. NationalCremation notes that the authorization can come from family members, or a form can be filled out, prior to death, if someone wants to give their permission to cremate their body. 

Funeralwise says the next step is to clean the body and remove any medical devices such as pacemakers. However, if there are any pins inside a person's bones those will remain in place as they won't impact the cremation process. It's also worth noting that bodies being cremated need to be in some kind of container; they aren't just thrown into the fire. There are specific caskets made for cremation, but a sturdy cardboard structure is also acceptable. However, the container must be combustible and strong enough to support the body. 

The bodies are then put into a chamber called a "retort," which will only hold one body and is lined with special bricks that can withstand heat up to 2,000 degrees. The furnaces are typically powered by gas, propane, or diesel fuel. 

The weight of a cremated body

Though cost is cited as a reason for the rise in popularity of cremation, often weight is not listed as a factor. However, burying a significantly larger individual could actually cost more money, according to USFuneralsOnline. Oversize caskets cost extra money and larger burial plots cost extra as well.

But according to HowStuffWorks, a person's weight won't impact how much their ashes will weigh. Instead, the weight of a person's ashes is based on their bone density. UrnsNorthwest notes that younger people will typically have greater bone density than older people, men will have greater bone density than women, and taller individuals have more bone than smaller people.

Since ashes are typically put into an urn, most people don't know how much the ashes of their loved ones weigh on their own. But HowStuffWorks notes that a person's ashes will weigh anywhere from 3 to 9 pounds.