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Recycling Grandma's replacement parts - a grisly business, or a blessing?

The AP reports from ZWOLLE, Netherlands:

 The recycling warehouse looks unremarkable. Workers sift through dusty containers of screws, rods and iron balls and sort them for processing.

From the jumble it's hard to tell they were once prosthetic hips, artificial knees and metal implants of all sorts, salvaged from the ashes of crematoria.

Peter Dejong / AP

An employee of OrthoMetals separates parts for recycling on a conveyer belt in a warehouse in Zwolle, eastern Netherlands, on Nov. 14. Imperishable body parts are recovered from the ashes of cremated people, and precious metals are also recovered by the crematoria and offered to the family or placed in the urn.

Peter Dejong / AP

An employee of OrthoMetals sifts through coffin ornaments on a conveyer belt, rear, as parts of hip implants are seen in a box in the foreground.

If recycling grandma's replacement parts seems a grisly business, it is in fact a blessing for funeral homes, for the environment and for families who know that the implants that made their loved ones more comfortable are not being discarded in the trash.

When relatives are asked, virtually no one objects that the ashes are sifted for reusable metals, says Ruud Verberne, director of OrthoMetals, which recovers 200 tons of valuable metals a year from funeral parlors. Read the full story.

Peter Dejong / AP

Implants and other materials are collected in a bag for recycling at the OrthoMetals warehouse.

Peter Dejong / AP

Stripped gold-plated crucifix coffin ornaments are seen on a conveyer belt during the recycling process.