The predicted 2019 cremation rate is almost 55% and about 70% of cremated remains go home with families. This means your funeral home is likely to see more people choosing cremation. And with many families being spread out across the country or even the world, they need a reliable way to ship their loved one’s cremated remains.
That’s why the United States Postal Service® (USPS) recently updated its guidelines for shipping cremated remains. With these updates, packages with cremated remains will be more protected and more easily identified.
Your funeral home should make sure your staff and client families are aware of these updates. Your staff can even go the extra mile for your families by helping them package their loved one’s cremated remains. Or, if the family would rather do it themselves, you can provide them with the necessary instructions.
To make things even easier, we’ve outlined the guidelines for shipping cremated remains.
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Packaging Requirements for Shipping Cremated Remains
For shipping cremated remains, you need a primary inner sift-proof container, cushioning materials, and an outer shipping package. The sift-proof container can be anything from a wooden box to an urn. However, if it’s being shipping internationally, it must be an urn. Your funeral home’s staff can help families select an urn or another appropriate container that prevents spillage.
For the cushioning material, you need to place it around the sift-proof container to prevent damage to the container. You can use your own outer box or the USPS® has cremated remains boxes available. They also recommend putting a piece of paper with the sender’s and recipient’s information inside the package just in case the shipping label becomes separated from the outer box.
Labeling and Marking Requirements
You want to make it as clear as possible that there are cremated remains inside the package. So, the new guidelines require that you mark the outer box with the orange Label 139, Cremated Remains on each side of the box, including the top and bottom.
When shipping cremated remains, you should address the inner container and the outer container in case they become separated. To address the inner container, put it inside a sealed plastic bag and attach the label to the bag. You also should make sure your writing is easy to read and not smeared. You can ship cremated remains as Priority Mail Express® or Priority Mail Express International®. If it’s being shipping internationally, click here for more information.