What to Do With Urns After Scattering Ashes: 10 Ideas


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With more people choosing cremation than ever before, many families are left wondering what to do not only with ashes but also with urns. While it’s perfectly common to use the urn as a container for cremated remains (cremains) and a keepsake, many families scatter the ashes. 

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In addition, there has been a rise in the use of biodegradable urns and other eco-friendly alternatives. This means families may be left with an urn but no ashes, but it doesn’t feel right to just dispose of the urn. When you keep in mind how much an urn costs, it’s only normal to wish you could put the urn to good use. 

Whether you choose to display the urn, repurpose it, or donate it to a family in need, there’s no need to worry about what happens to the urn after scattering ashes. These ideas below may be a good fit no matter your situation. 

Ideas for Displaying the Empty Urn After Scattering Ashes

Whether you used a scattering urn specifically for scattering ashes or a traditional urn, there are many ways to display these items after a scattering ceremony. Keeping the urn close and within one’s family can bring peace, connecting you with your loved one’s legacy. 

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Family heirloom

It’s common to have a difficult time parting with someone’s cremation urn, even if there are no longer any ashes inside. There’s nothing wrong with holding on to it for years to come. 

Making this a family heirloom ensures that it stays within your family, honoring your loved one’s memory for years to come. Pass this down through generations, making it a part of your family’s story. 


Urns also become the perfect planter, housing your favorite plants for both indoor or outdoor use. Many planters are already in the shape of urns, and some planter urns specifically double as planters on purpose.


Similarly, you can use the urn as a vase. Urns are stunning and beautiful in their own right, so they’re the perfect way to show off fresh (or fake) flowers. This is a functional way to display your urn after scattering ashes, and it turns the urn into a symbol for new life. 

Memorial monument

Memorial monuments often take the shape of urns, so why not use a real one? Perfect for placing in a church courtyard, cemetery, or outdoor memorial space, these monuments are placed in honor of someone special. 

Garden display

Lastly, you can display your empty urn in a garden. Many people find peace connecting their loved one’s memory with nature and the Earth. By placing the urn in a garden, it becomes a part of this new growth and life. 

Ideas for Repurposing the Empty Urn After Scattering Ashes

After scattering ashes, you might wish to repurpose the empty urn in a unique way. There are truly no rules about how to use your urn, so it’s important to find your own comfort level. Consider these ideas to repurpose your empty urn after scattering the ashes. 

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Doing good after a loss brings a lot of peace. If you no longer have any use for your loved one’s urn, there’s no reason to keep it if you don’t want to. There are a lot of great places you can donate your urn. Not only does this honor your loved one’s memory, but it does a world of good for a family in need.

While you can donate your urn with a local group, church, or nonprofit, you can also work with online groups. The Co-Op Funeral Home accepts donated urns online, and they send them to families in need. Knowing the urn is going to a good cause is a form of comfort and compassion. 

Candy or treat jar

Though you’ll need a sense of humor, repurposing your urn into a candy or treat jar can be a fun twist on its intended purpose. Urns are usually associated with dying, remembrance, and grief. Making your own urn into a candy jar or pet treat jar turns it into something completely new. 

For someone who was always marching to the beat of their own drum, this is a great way to honor their life and legacy. Who said an urn can’t make the perfect candy jar? Life should always be sweet and savory. 

Bury it

Even after scattering a loved one’s ashes, you still might be in search of closure. Burying the urn is a way to lay it to rest and find comfort. Many people don’t wish to keep the urn, but it feels disrespectful just to throw it away. Burying it allows it to act as a symbolic goodbye. 

Just as families take time to know what to say when scattering ashes, the same can be true for an urn burial. This symbolic ritual is a way to find peace and dispose of the urn in a respectful way. 

However, it’s important to note that there is nothing wrong with throwing away an urn, especially after scattering the ashes. You should never feel obligated to keep the physical urn. You can respectfully wrap the urn in a cloth and place it in a trash receptacle without worry. 

Keepsake holder

Another way to repurpose your urn is to use it as a keepsake holder. The urn can hold anything from letters to mentos and photos. This is a powerful way to keep someone’s legacy alive while putting the urn to good use in your space. 


Scattering urns are often made of recyclable materials. An alternative to throwing it away or burying it is to recycle the urn. Any eco-friendly scattering tube made of natural materials, like these from The Living Urn, is easy to recycle in most communities. 

Family urn

Last but not least, you can continue to use the urn within your family. Once the ashes have been scattered, there’s nothing wrong with reusing the urn for other loved ones in the future. Having a family urn lends a sense of community to an otherwise difficult process, making everyone feel more connected in both life and death. 

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Frequently Asked Questions: What to Do With an Urn After Scattering Ashes

There’s a lot of discussion about what to do with ashes, but there isn’t much talk about what happens to the urn afterward. This vessel for ashes carries a lot of meaning and significance in itself. These frequently asked questions shine a light on what to do with this urn in the future. 

Can you donate urns after scattering ashes?

Yes, you can always donate urns after scattering ashes. There are many organizations and groups that use donated urns to help those in need. Because funerals and cremation costs are expensive, not everyone can afford the right urn to honor their loved one. If you have no need for your loved one’s urn after scattering the ashes, donating it is an act of compassion. 

There are a lot of local places where you can donate your urn. You can ask local religious groups, churches, nonprofits, and even funeral homes. Local funeral homes are often the most knowledgeable about resources and groups. 

However, if you wish to donate an urn online, here are some great choices:

Where can you sell an urn after scattering ashes?

If you’re worried about recouping the cost of your urn, you can also sell it after scattering the ashes. Many people are looking for discounted, high-quality urns, so they might wish to buy one from another family. You can sell an urn locally, or online using a platform like:

When you list your urn online, be honest about the condition of the urn. Make sure it’s clear that this is a used urn vs. a new urn. In addition, clean your urn so it’s ready for its new owner. 

Can you throw out an empty cremation urn?

Last but not least, you can always throw out an empty cremation urn. While it might feel uncomfortable or disrespectful to throw out an empty urn, remember that this is just a vessel for ashes. The true legacy of a person, their memory and relationships, live on forever. 

Wrapping the urn in fabric or paper can help ease any tension you have about throwing away an empty cremation urn. There’s no need to feel obligated to keep an urn if you no longer have a need for it. 

Honor Your Loved One After Scattering Ashes

Ultimately, scattering the ashes of your loved one is an important way to honor their life and return their memory to nature. What happens to their urn after this ceremony is entirely up to you. Whether you keep it, pass it on to future generations, or donate it, this is entirely up to you. Like all things end-of-life, this is a highly personal choice. 

Have you given any thought to your own end-of-life wishes? What type of sendoff do you want, and how do you want your family to honor your legacy? Complete your end-of-life plan and share your wishes today.


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