Switzerland’s biggest crematorium, Nordheim, uses technology that can extract precious metals from the cremated bodies and these nuggets are then sold. The technology they are using can separate the ashes from the metals such as platinum, gold and silver. The facility cremates around six thousand bodies annually. While some are kept in cremation urns for ashes, one-third chose to offer their ashes for the innovative technology.
The temperature during cremation can reach 700 degrees Celsius thus only heavy metals are able to withstand this heat. In order to separate the nuggets of precious metals from the ashes, the facility was installed with a special system for filtration.
These precious metals are then sent to the recycling firms that are buying them for profit. The money earned is directly given to the state coffers which will help the city of Zurich with an additional 100,000 Swiss francs annually.
There are those who believe that the money should have been sent back to the family of the deceased to help them financially but currently the setup is that the state will earn the profit.
It is not mandatory for every cremated body to undergo the filtration process and they have the option to do it or not. According to record from the crematorium, a third of the bodies cremated have chosen to join the program.
There are only two crematoriums in all of Switzerland that utilize this technique. The other one is located in Solothurn, a town in the middle of Bern and Basel, and earning 40,000 Swiss francs annually from filtering precious metals.
Not every crematorium in the country is open to employing the technique such as those in Basel, St Gallen and Aarau that have already announced they will not use the same technique.
A representative from the crematorium in St. Gallen said the ashes should be the property of the grieving families and not the state or even the crematorium. This is why after cremation they keep them in cremation urns for ashes or spread them where depending on the deceased person’s wish.