Metals retrieved by crematoria – such as from from artificial hips, metal rods and nails from coffins – are becoming a more lucrative commodity as raw material prices rise and more people opt for cremation, broadcaster NOS reports.
The metal retrieved from the bodies and the coffins is collected in containers and transported for recycling once or twice a year.
‘We find prosthetics but also surgical clamps,’ Roel Stapper, chairman of the national crematoria association, told the broadcaster. ‘In the Netherlands when patients die on the operating table the clamps are not removed. Spectacles, lucky coins and jewellery are also often left with the body.’
The leftover metal used to fetch between €1.6 million and €2.5 million a year but rocketed to €3.5 million in 2021. ‘I think we are sure to get €4 or €5 million this year because of the spiraling cost of raw materials,’ Stapper said.
The rise is also party due to the growing preference for cremation over burial. Some 67% of people are now cremated, compared to 50% at the beginning of the century.
The proceeds go to charity although crematoria will oblige if relatives put in a request for the metal. ‘That rarely happens. You can’t really do anything with it. If you have it recycled yourself you’ll end up paying more than the metal is worth,’ Stappers said.
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