Ash Scattering Information

Quick Guide For Spreading Ashes in Rhode Island


What Does Ash Scattering Mean 

Ash scattering refers to scattering a loved one's cremated ashes in a meaningful location, such as a favorite hiking trail or body of water. Ash scattering after cremation can provide a meaningful way to honor your loved one's memory and distribute their remains in a place that was significant to them. It can also offer a sense of closure and a way to say goodbye. It can also be more affordable and environmentally friendly than a traditional burial.


A common way to honor your loved one after they’ve been cremated is to plan an ash scattering ceremony. This type of ritual helps the family members and friends to find peace and closure, and it can be a beautiful way of celebrating the memory of the loved one. 


Why Choose Ash Scattering?

There are many reasons why a family may choose to do an ash scattering. A few of the most common reasons are:

  • Ash Scattering Ceremony is environmentally friendly since cremation and ash spread do not release chemicals and pollutants in the soil like a burial would. 
  • Unlike traditional burial, an ash scattering ceremony can take place in the future if the family needs time to organize something special or process their grief.  
  • Ash-spreading suits different religions and people not identifying with a specific religion.  
  • This kind of ceremony is a more personalized sendoff, where the family can use their creativity by including meaningful objects or choosing special locations to perform the ceremony. 
  • Ash Scattering is also an affordable way to say goodbye to your loved one compared to traditional funeral services. 


Rules of Ash Scattering Services 

People often scatter their loved one’s ashes somewhere special that reminds them of them or that they like to visit. However, there are several rules regarding where you can and cannot scatter ashes. For the most part, you can scatter ashes in places that aren’t private and on your property. But you may need a permit, and there are certain rules for different areas, so we’ll go over a few general guidelines: 


  • If someone else owns the land, you must write permission to scatter the ashes there.
  • Check with your local government before scattering ashes in public parks or other public locations.
  • Most U.S. National Parks allow you to scatter ashes, but you need a permit first.
  • You can ask permission to scatter ashes in places such as sports arenas and amusement parks, but they often decline these requests.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows ocean ash scatterings from planes or boats. However, you must be at least three nautical miles from the shore and need to contact the EPA within 30 days.


Use your best judgment, ask permission when necessary, and be respectful when scattering ashes. Our staff is happy to help you find a legal and meaningful ash scattering location if you're unsure.



Ash Scattering Ceremony

Spreading Ashes in RI

Personalized Services in RI

Ash scattering ceremonies can be personalized so the family finds a better way to honor the memories of their loved one. Personalizing the ash-scattering ceremony of your loved one can be a meaningful way to honor their life and legacy. It allows you to celebrate their unique personality, interests, and accomplishments and create a special moment that reflects their identity. You can also provide closure for yourself and your family and help begin healing after a loss.


Some ceremony types may be better suited depending on the ash scattering methodFor example, with casting, you may have a formal ceremony with the release of wildflower seeds, biodegradable paper lanterns, or another environmentally friendly option in addition to your loved one’s ashes. Or, if you do a water ash scattering, you can still hold a releasing ceremony with one of the objects mentioned above where everyone can be present. The ceremony agenda can include readings, songs, eulogies, or other personalized elements.


Ash Scattering Ideas

The most common ash scattering methods are casting, trenching, water, and raking. See below some ideas that fit your loved one’s personality and wishes. 



This is the most typical ash scattering method, where the ashes are released into the wind and dispersed across land or water. It’s a symbolic way to say goodbye to your loved ones while honoring their memory. It also allows them to explore the special place you chose for the ash scattering, whether it is a park, by the ocean, or in a stadium. You can organize a more intimate ceremony, where one family member releases the ashes, or make it a group ceremony. When doing this, know the wind direction and release the ashes downwind.



For trenching, you dig a trench or hole in the ground and scatter the ashes inside. Then, your family can cover the hole together. Oftentimes, families dig a significant shape, such as a heart or their loved one’s initials.


The location can be under a tree, in a flower bed, or another purposeful location. Another popular form of trenching is a ringing ceremony where a trench is dug in a circle around a tree or something significant. Or you can put an important object in the circle's center, such as a candle, photo, or memento. This particular method is similar to a traditional burial. It can be ideal for families that would like a burial but don’t want to commit to a full traditional ceremony. 



A water ash scattering is exactly what it sounds like; it’s when you scatter the ashes across a body of water, such as the ocean, a lake, or a river. Typically, you place the ashes inside a water-soluble urn that’s placed in the water. Then, the urn dissolves after a few minutes and slowly releases the ashes.



This is when you gently rake the ashes into the soil of an ash-scattering garden near trees and flowers. In this ceremony, the ashes mix with the earth, becoming one. Afterward, everyone can share special memories with their loved ones.


Other Unique Sendoffs

If you’re looking for a unique sendoff to show off your loved one’s personality, then one of these options may be right for you. You can incorporate your loved one's ashes into fireworks, balloons, eternal reefs, and other unique tributes. 



Ready to organize an Ash Scattering Ceremony?

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff can assist your family in planning a beautiful ash-scattering ceremony that honors your loved one’s life. We can help you choose a legal ash scattering location, select an ash scattering method, and plan the ceremony details. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to visit our FAQs page or contact us by clicking below. 


Call Our Funeral Directors



Rhode Island Cremation Care
Phone: (401) 429-9588

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