Don't Get Duped!

Not all post-cremation metals are alike.

Post-Cremation metals ready to be sorted.

Neither are all post-metal recyclers alike. Some pay you a set per-pound amount for the total weight of all the material you send to them. Some even “buy” you a processor at no cost to you. We all should know by now, nothing in life is truly free. If you knew the true value of your recyclables, you might be shocked.

To assess the true value of the metal sent for recycling from your crematory, it has to be separated into precious and non-precious metals.  There is no other way to accurately determine the value of the metal contained in that shipping container. You cannot accurately determine the value based on weight alone.

Examples of precious metals found in post-cremation come almost exclusively from dental work. These metals include silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. Non-precious metals include steel, titanium, chrome, cobalt, zinc, and aluminum. The non-precious metals are of little value. Sorting, smelting and reimbursing them as a total by weight, per pound, makes sense. The “per-ounce” difference of each metal is of no consequence. But it is a HUGE deal with the precious metals.

A homogenous precious metal bar. 

Post-cremation metal recyclers that reimburse crematories for both precious and non-precious by total weight alone are clearly not reporting to or paying out to the customer fairly.

As of August 8, 2018, gold was trading at $1,207.00 USD per troy oz., palladium was trading at $885.00 per troy oz., silver at $15.25 per troy oz. and platinum at $830.00 per troy oz. There are 14.58 troy ounces to a pound. Therefore, on August 8, gold was worth approximately $17,600.00 USD per pound. One pound! This amount of gold could easily fit in someone’s hand. But it’s not just the wide disparity in value of the precious metals that complicates valuation. What makes it even more challenging is that there are literally hundreds of combinations of precious and non-precious metals in dental alloy. This is why it is not just difficult, but impossible to estimate the value based on weight alone.

Preparing sample for Assaying. 

So how do we know its value? During the pouring stage of the process we take a small sample of the melt. This sample is representative of the whole bar. We then perform a compositional analysis, or assay, of the sample to ascertain the exact percentages of each metal contained in the bar.  Our assay lab actually performs two types of analysis to determine the precise metal content. Once we obtain the percentages of each metal from the assay and multiply them by the weight of the bar we smelted, we can then determine the exact value of the bar. For example, if a 30 toz (troy ounce) bar had an assay reporting 12% gold and 14% palladium, it would have 3.6 toz of gold and 4.2 toz of palladium. This bar would be worth roughly $8,000. If the same 30 toz bar is inaccurately or deliberately misreported to reflect 9.5% gold and 11% palladium it would then have only 2.85 toz of gold and 3.3 toz of palladium. This calculates to a value of around $6,350.00. I don’t know about you, but that $1,650.00 difference seems like a big deal to me! That “free” processor doesn’t seem so free now.

Which side of the scale do YOU want to be on? 

Which side of the scale do YOU want to be on? 

With the controversies swirling around the value and reimbursement of the funds from recycling post-cremation metals and where this money ends up, it makes sense for crematoria to take complete control of the situation. Recycling is the responsible and right thing to do, but make sure you do it with transparency. Always disclose how it works to your families and make sure your metal recycler provides you with an actual sample of your exact shipments so that you can have them independently tested if you choose. 

Kevin McKay