Logic and Emotion vs. Pure Business

The unique and amazing differences between cremation clients and other industries we work with.

When it comes to selling metal recycling and refining service it doesn’t take a lot of industry training. We take metals, we melt them, we pour them into bars and we sell them. Sure, we have environmental regulations to comply with, assure safety in the workplace, ethics when it comes to remuneration and a host of other typical things of any profession that set us apart from our peers (and can be learned on a first job). Increasing our client list in the dental, pawn and jewelry spaces has been pretty straight forward. Collect, sort, smelt, pour, cool, assay, sell to metal fabricators and jewelry makers. Easy peezy lemon breezy. When Mid-States decided to enter the cremation metal recycling market I thought, “How perfect! This will be easy too and we will be bringing all of the things that make us amazing to a new space!” Nothing could be further from the truth. And what a good thing! When crematories decide to recycle, far more goes into the decision and the selection of the recycler than in any other industry we have worked in. Logic, emotion and due diligence are a huge part of every cremation client that we partner with. In other spaces, it’s mostly about the money. 

Pawnshops and jewelers need focus solely on their profitability especially because they are paying out significant dollars for these precious metals. Anything they recycle (read “can’t sell”) has to at least break even from what they originally paid for the metals. These folks tend to view their recycling as nothing more than another source of revenue. Dental offices are typically the least concerned about their metal recycling. With the advent of digital X-ray technology, they generate a lot less scrap metal than they used to. It is super rare to find lead foil from X-ray film anymore. We have worked so long in these markets and were so used to their mindset so entering the cremation metals market was really eye-opening and a very refreshing change. Who would have thought that funeral professionals actually care about things? It’s NOT all about the bottom line? Wuuut?!?

Funeral professionals trend to apply serious due diligence to their decisions; Cremation metal recyclers are no exception.  

“What will our families think?” 

“How will this be perceived in our community?” 

“Does the positive environmental benefits of not burying or disposing of the post-cremation metals outweigh the risk?”


One of the largest differences in the cremation market is the fact that the overwhelming majority of crematories we work with have us donate the funds from recycling directly to the charity(ies) of their choice or they have a foundation set up to underwrite costs for infant deaths or for those who can’t afford their services. No offense to the other industries we work with, but it has been truly wonderful to see how grateful crematories are to have these options. And it’s also great to work with businesses that are not as concerned about how metal recycling affects their profitability.

That said, a little more of that due diligence can go a long way to fair compensation from cremation metals. Sadly with a lot of recyclers underpayment and massive profits are the norm. Swapping metal for “points” to use on products in catalogs or “free” processors is nothing more than creative fuzzy marketing. Dig deep with your recycler and ask to see assay results (chemical testing of the actual metals you sent in) and make sure you are getting at least 90% of the market value back. Even if your reimbursement is going directly to a charity or a fund for others, take steps to make sure that the money is going into the right hands. 

Kevin McKayComment