New life for artificial joints

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said recycling cremation metal from artificial hips and other joints had raised $14,000 for the Cancer Council WA to help run lodges in Nedlands and Shenton Park.

Crawford and Milroy lodges provide accommodation for regional patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Since July, 2013, the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board (MCB) has worked with Dutch company Orthometals, which specialises in the recycling of metals from the bodies of deceased people who are cremated.

During cremation, the stainless steel, tungsten and titanium in artificial hips, screws and other joints does not burn. Families could request to have the metal joints returned to them but until recently most metal was buried.

Mr Simpson said the partnership between Orthometals, MCB and Cancer Council WA benefited the community.

‘We have gone from the long-standing practice of burying this recyclable material within cemetery grounds to ensuring that it is respectfully collected and recycled,’ he said.

‘We have found a unique way to recycle valuable materials and to offer support to people receiving cancer treatment.’

Materials are recycled from crematoria at Karrakatta, Fremantle and Pinnaroo Valley.

Families can opt out and still have metals returned to them.