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  #1  
Old 04-25-2008, 01:46 PM
Tupug Anachi Tupug Anachi is offline
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Who knows about shipping human ashes?

I need to ship my parents ashes from Florida to Massachusetts before August. My shipping clerk at work tells me that Fed Ex and UPS will NOT ship them. Anybody have any experience of this kind? I'm asking because I won't be able to personally transport them. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:54 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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The US Postal Service will ship them. I don't have time to look further, but I rather suspect UPS and FedEx have similar policies. They're just ashes, ferchrissake, not C4. Personally, I'd probably just ship them normally, without any special markings. How's anyone going to know?
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:55 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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Last time I was in this position, the Post Office had no problems at all accepting a shoebox-sized cardboard box to be mailed somewhere.

I think your shipping clerk is full of beans though - FedEx does prohibit shipment of biohazardous materials such as blood, body fluids or tissue samples, but human ashes (also called cremains) are well, ashes. AFAIK, they are inert and not biohazardous.

A search at fedex.com and at ups.com brings up no hits on cremains or ashes.

It is possible that the shippers will not insure cremains, but that's a different issue than not accepting them for shipment.

ETA: Looking at Q.E.D.'s link, it appears the primary concern is that they're messy if spilled. The last time I shipped ashes, the ashes themselves were in a sealed plastic bag, inside a "shipping urn" (really just a durable plastic box) that was also sealed with tape, another sealed bag, and finally, the outer cardboard box.

As he said, just bring a nice neat cardboard box, and nobody will look twice at it.

Last edited by gotpasswords; 04-25-2008 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:58 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupug Anachi
I need to ship my parents ashes from Florida to Massachusetts before August. My shipping clerk at work tells me that Fed Ex and UPS will NOT ship them. Anybody have any experience of this kind? I'm asking because I won't be able to personally transport them. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks.
It was my understanding that in the United States, only the U.S. Postal Service with ship cremains interstate (or intrastate for that matter). It has to be in a sealed container that can withstand shipping (so no shoeboxes) and you have to label the package as cremains somehwere near the address, I think.

It's best to ship with one of the mail services that will give you a registered mail receipt and return receipt. You can probably get all the info you need from your postmaster.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:00 PM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is online now
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Googling "shipping cremains" suggests that USPS has a procedure for shipping cremains, although a search at usps.gov came up empty.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:05 PM
Tupug Anachi Tupug Anachi is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I will check with my post office tomorrow. The ashes are in heavy-duty sealed plastic boxes. From what I was told, insuring them was another matter altogether since no value can be placed on them.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:17 PM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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Any licensed funeral home can advise you, though they probably will try to sell you their services.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:31 PM
Tupug Anachi Tupug Anachi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigmagirl
Any licensed funeral home can advise you, though they probably will try to sell you their services.
I agree.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:54 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupug Anachi
From what I was told, insuring them was another matter altogether since no value can be placed on them.
Convert them to artificial diamonds. Then you can ship them as insured precious gems.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:02 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords
I think your shipping clerk is full of beans though - FedEx does prohibit shipment of biohazardous materials such as blood, body fluids or tissue samples, but human ashes (also called cremains) are well, ashes. AFAIK, they are inert and not biohazardous.

A search at fedex.com and at ups.com brings up no hits on cremains or ashes.
Looks like there are plenty of yummy beans to go around. Both Fedex and UPS specifically prohibit the shipment of cremated human remains:

Fedex:
Quote:
Prohibited Items

You are prohibited from tendering the following items for shipment, and they will not be accepted:


Cash, currency, collectible stamps and coins.
Live animals, except as provided in the Live Animals and Ornamental Marine Life (Including Live Fish) section. (Edible seafood, such as live lobsters, crabs or other types of fish and shellfish for human consumption, is acceptable, provided the shipper is in compliance with all local, state and federal laws.)
Animal carcasses. (Animal heads and other parts for taxidermy may be accepted but must be properly packaged. This restriction does not apply to properly packaged meat or poultry products intended for human consumption.)
Human corpses, human body parts, human embryos, or cremated or disinterred human remains. Shipments that require us to obtain a local, state or federal license for their transportation./li>
Shipments that may cause damage or delay to equipment, personnel or other shipments.
Lottery tickets and gambling devices where prohibited by local, state or federal law.
Hazardous waste, including, but not limited to, used hypodermic needles or syringes, or other medical waste.
Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odor of any kind.
Live insects.
Shipments or commodities that are prohibited by applicable local, state or federal law.


Notwithstanding any other provision of the FedEx Service Guide, we are not liable for delay of, loss of or damage to a shipment of any prohibited item. The shipper agrees to indemnify FedEx for any and all costs, fees and expenses FedEx incurs as a result of the shipper's violation of any local, state or federal laws or regulations or from tendering any prohibited item for shipment.
UPS (PDF):
Quote:
XXIII. SHIPMENTS NOT ACCEPTABLE
The following shipments will not be acceptable for transportation by UPS Supply Chain Solutions:
A. Corpses, cremated, or disinterred remains.
B. Live animals (including birds, fish, reptiles, or insects) except mice, rats, toads, frogs, or leeches destined to or
originating from medical laboratories within the United States or Canada.
C. Shipments of gold or other precious metals including but not limited to bronze, copper, gold, or silver coins,
coin collections, gems and precious stones.
D. Postage, trading or revenue stamps, and stamp collections.
E. Money, currency, bonds, bills of exchange, deeds, promissory notes, negotiable securities and stock certificates.
F. Antiques.
G. Original manuscripts or electronic data for which no other copy exists.
H. Stringed instruments including but not limited to violins, violas, cellos, bass violins, guitars, mandolins or
banjos.
I. Uncrated, unwrapped or otherwise improperly packaged furniture or household goods.
J. Shipments consigned “To Order of,” “To Order Notify,” or other similar designations.
K. Shipments requiring special care or attention between origin and destination, other than as provided in Section
XXX, TRANSPORTATION PROTECTIVE SERVICES (T.P.S).
L. Any Hazardous Materials intended for commercial air transport.
M. Hazardous waste materials.
N. Hazardous Materials shipments as identified in Section IX.
O. Shipments not accompanied by proper documentation required by a treaty, convention, or statute applicable to
such shipments.
P. Shipments of an inherent nature for which transportation could not be furnished without sustaining loss or
damage, including but not limited to the following shipments if they have a glass facing included in the same
shipping container: artwork, original paintings, drawings, etchings, water colors, and sculptures of any kind.
Q. Shipments requiring a federal, state or local license for transportation, for which UPS Supply Chain Solutions elects not to comply.
R. Shipments which would likely cause damage to other shipments, equipment or crew, or the carriage of which is
prohibited by law.
S. Shipments that are improperly packaged. Acceptance by us of any shipment shall not create a presumption that
the shipment was properly packaged for carriage, and Shipper remains ultimately responsible to ensure proper
packaging.
T. Nursery stock, plants, flowers, or perishables.
U. Watches.
V. COD (Cash or Certified Check on Delivery) shipments.
W. Any item of extraordinary value. Lottery Tickets and other documents of inherent value.
X. Additional exclusions from our UPS Express Critical International service include:
Animals and plants, foodstuff, perishables, feed or other edible material intended for consumption by humans or
animals, Dangerous Goods or Hazardous Materials (in air transport), drugs (prescription and non prescription),
firearms, weaponry and parts thereof, “In Bond” shipments, cosmetics, gambling devices, liquor, tobacco,
pornography, and other shipments which are prohibited by law.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 04-25-2008 at 09:03 PM.. Reason: (PDF)
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