Are Hip Replacements Recyclable?
Category : Health
Making arrangements for end-of-life can be an overwhelming process. More and more people are choosing to be cremated, but with that decision comes questions of how the process works.
It is not unusual for individuals and families to be unsure about what should be done with metal implants once a loved one passes away. The number of hip replacement surgeries performed each year is increasing, resulting in an increase of metallic waste once the body is cremated.
Today funeral homes, crematoriums, and recycling organizations are working together to find innovative ways for recycling hip replacements after cremation.
How It Works
Cremation is the process of converting the human body to ashes and bone fragments. This process is done by placing the body in a furnace that reaches temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Titanium, a strong metal commonly found in hip replacements, does not break down in the heat of the cremation chamber and needs to be removed post-cremation.
Once the cremation process is finished, the remains are left to cool. A cremation technician then removes the pieces of metal with a variety of techniques such as passing a magnet over the remains.
Where Does The Metal Go?
Once the metals have been separated, they are collected by third-party recycling organizations. These organizations work with crematoria around the world to collect and recycle the discarded metal. The recovered material is collected and transported from the crematorium to a sorting facility. The metal is then sorted, tested, melted, and prepared for resale.
Recycled metal can be used in a variety of ways from building new implants to the creation of road signs and even in the building of new air crafts.
When not recycled, discarded metal is often buried underground in landfills. Titanium and other metals found in hip replacements do not break down naturally when placed in the ground and can be harmful to the surrounding environment.
Recycling is an ecological way to dispose of the metals we leave behind. Recycling reduces waste lowering the demand for new landfill space.
Additionally, when medals are recycled and reused, we decrease the need to mine new metals from the earth.
A Chance to Give Back
The majority of the proceeds collected from the sale of recycled metal are given back to the crematorium from which the metals were collected. The crematorium and the family of the deceased often work together with the recycling organization to donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
With the help of implant recycling organizations, millions of dollars have been donated to charities across the United States and around the world.
The knowledge that the implants left behind by loved ones are helping to give back to the community has helped many families through the grieving process.
With the rise of implant recycling organizations, recycling hip replacements after cremation has become a simple and straightforward process.
If you or a loved one are considering cremation at the end-of-life, speak with a funeral home director to discuss donating recovered metal to a recycling organization.