Where does the metal come from in the cremation process?

Because most metals do not vaporize during the cremation process they are leftover when the cremation process is complete. These metals are not part of the deceased and need to be disposed of in a dignified and professional manner. The casket or container will contain metal screws, nails, staples, hardware and many other areas. Our bodies may also contain metals in the form of artificial prosthetics. Artificial hips, knees, metal cages used in spinal fusion, and a whole host of other things can be made of metal. Another common source is dental implants. Metals are used to fix decayed, broken or missing teeth. For dental work, the metals can range from precious metals (i.e. gold, silver, platinum and palladium) to non-precious metals like nickel, chrome, cobalt and titanium. For orthopedic procedures the metals most commonly used are stainless steel, titanium, cobalt and chrome.

What types of metals are typically recovered after a cremation?

For orthopedic procedures stainless steel, titanium, cobalt and chrome are commonly used. These are considered non-precious metals. Precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and palladium are typically found only in dental work.

Why should I recycle instead of burying or disposing of these metals?

Recycling is always the best option for the same reason it makes sense to recycle paper, plastic or aluminum in daily life. The less resources we need to mine from the earth the better. These heavy metals don't decompose or breakdown quickly so recycling them for immediate repurposing is a much better solution.

Can I recycle pacemakers?

Yes! Pacemaker manufacturers such as Boston Scientific, Medtronic or St. Judes would rather get these units back to perform research. Knowing how well they performed helps the manufacturers make better, more efficient models in the future. All the manufacturers have a free send-in program to make it easy for the crematory to send them back, but if it's easier for you, Mid-States will accept pacemakers with your other metal for recycling. We will send them back to the various manufacturers.

Are all the metals melted down together and recycled at the same time?

No. We sort the metals after we receive them and recycle them according to their composition. Non-precious high temperature metals or refractory metals are smelted individually. Precious metals are mixed with a flux and copper. That mixture is smelted together to form a homogenous bar.

Can I watch the actual smelting when I visit your facility?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it! We feel that a customer that has been educated in this process has more confidence and trust and it makes for a more seamless transaction. Not only can you watch the melt, we will show you every step of the process before and after, including an XRF analysis (X-Ray Florescence) of your metal to get a very close compositional breakdown. This test is done to give our customers an instant idea of what their metal contains.  

I can't come to Chicago to see the process. How do I know you are giving me accurate results?

We realize that all of our customers can't come to our facility to view the process so we always offer to send you a sample from your actual melt. This can be analyzed by a third-party assayer to double-check our results. This gives you peace of mind so that you don't have to wonder if we are reporting an accurate breakdown. 

Do you offer references?

You are always welcome to call on our customers ahead of time to get a feel for how we operate. You will find a list here, and if you would like more, contact us and we will happily provide them. Many can even describe their personal experience visiting our facility and witnessing their metals being recycled.    

How am I compensated for the recycled metals I send to you?

The most common method of reimbursement is having payment made directly back to the customer. We can also forward your compensation directly to a charity of your choice. Many of our customers like to keep it in the funeral profession family, and we recommend two great philanthropic foundations - NFDA's Funeral Service Foundation and the ICCFA's Educational Foundation.

Why is it important to work directly with the recycler as opposed to a middleman, peddler or broker?

Working direcly with the recycler offers comprehensive access to an EPA permitted facility fully authorized to process the specific types of metal that come from a crematory. Recycling companies that use third party refiners cannot verify their EPA permits or compliance with ISO standards and can't offer the same efficiency, safety, environmental responsibility, and most of all, credibility. Dealing with a company like this could cause regulatory problems later.

Do I have to sign a term contract to work with Mid-States?

Mid-States Recycling does not require term agreements. We subscribe to the idea that you should use us because you want to, not because you’re required to.