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What are the legal aspects?

Understanding Hawaiʻi’s Regulations on Scattering Ashes: Essential Guidelines for Ash Scattering in Hawaiʻi. Here are some crucial laws and regulations to keep in mind.

Hawaiʻi Revised Statute 321-18 permits the scattering of ashes at sea under specific conditions, provided it occurs outside state waters and at least three nautical miles away from the shoreline as required by the federal Clean Water Act. If the container will not easily decompose, you must dispose of it separately.

The EPA does not permit scattering at beaches or in wading pools by the sea.  Additionally, the EPA must be notified within 30 days of scattering ashes at sea. The Clean Water Act also governs scattering inland waters, such as rivers or lakes. For inland water burial, you may be legally required to obtain a permit from the state agency that manages the waterway. For information, including the contact contact information for the EPA representative in Hawaii, see the EPA’s page on burial at sea.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resource (DLNR) states that as long as the scattering ceremony will not involve a large crowd, and a number of vessels, you don’t need a permit. You should disperse the cremains beyond the reef line and, if you wish to scatter flowers along with the cremains, use loose flowers or cut the lei, because the string in the lei endangers marine animals.

The United States Postal Service has outlined in their Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) in section 601.12.0 of the DMM, titled “Cremated Remains.” These regulations are in place to ensure proper handling, respect, and safety when transporting such sensitive materials. The United States, Postal Service is the only way to ship human cremated remains, whether you are a funeral professional or a member of the public. If you have any questions, visit your local postoffice location, contact the USPS at 800-ASK-USPS (800–275–8777) or or CANA (Cremation Association of North America) at 312-245-1077.

Makani Ash Scattering and Kokua’s services handle these requirements through our Kokua program.

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