The following is from the front page of the Grand Forks, ND--North Valley Crematory, “Cremation Authorization and Disposition Form.” It briefly explains The Cremation Process.
THE CREMATION PROCESS
The cremation is performed either before or after memorialization. It is carried out by placing the deceased in a casket or alternative container and then placing the casket or alternative container one at a time into a cremation chamber, or retort, where they are subjected to intense heat and flame. During the cremation process, it may be necessary to open the cremation chamber and reposition the deceased in order to facilitate a complete and thorough cremation. Cremation of the deceased and incineration of the container and its contents is accomplished by raising the temperature substantially and all substances are consumed or driven off, except bone fragments (calcium compounds) and metal (including dental gold and silver and other non-human materials) as temperature is not sufficient to consume them.
Due to the nature of the cremation process, any personal possessions or valuable materials such as dental gold and silver, or jewelry (as well as prostheses or dental bridgework) that are left with the decedent and not removed from the casket , alternative container or body, prior to cremation, may be destroyed and become non-recoverable. If not destroyed, the crematory is authorized to dispose of such materials at its sole discretion including recycling and selling the residue material. The Authorizing Agent understands that arrangements must be made with the funeral home to remove any such possessions or valuables prior to the time that the decedent is transported to the crematory.
Following a cooling period, the cremated remains, which will normally weigh several pounds in the case of an average size adult, are then swept or raked from the cremation chamber. The crematory makes a reasonable effort to remove all of the cremated remains from the cremation chamber, but it is impossible to remove all of them, as some dust and other residue from the process are always left behind. In addition, while every reasonable effort will be made to avoid commingling, inadvertent or incidental commingling of minute particles of cremated remains from the residue of previous cremations is a possibility and the authorizing agent understands and accepts this fact.
After the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, all non-combustible materials such as dental gold and silver, or jewelry (as well as prostheses or dental bridgework) and materials from the casket or container, such as hinges, latches, nails, etc. will be separated and removed from the human bone fragments by visible or magnetic selection. The crematory is authorized to dispose of these materials with similar materials from other cremations, including recycling and selling the residue material, so that only the human bone fragments will remain.
When the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, the skeletal remains often contain recognizable bone fragments. After bone fragments have been separated from the other material, they will be mechanically processed (pulverized), which includes crushing or grinding (and incidental commingling of the remains with the residue from the processing of previously cremated remains) into granulated particles of unidentifiable dimensions, virtually unrecognizable as human remain, prior to placement into the designated container. In the event the urn or a single temporary container is insufficient to accommodate all of the cremated remains, the excess will be placed in a separate receptacle. The separate receptacle will be kept with the primary receptacle and handled according to the disposition instruction on this form.