My mother was cremated.
The day after she died (or the evening thereof) she was released with family's permission to a funeral service which transported her body the thirty miles +/- to the crematory. A day or two later the same funeral service picked up her 'cremains' (isn't that an annoying word!) and took them to their funeral home.
when my brother and I picked them up, the 'cremains' were in a homely cardboard container -on purpose, I'm sure. The funeral home person then pitched a variety of beautiful 'urns'. The cheapest, as I recall, was in the neighborhood of $200. My brother succumbed to the sales pitch and personally paid for a $200. urn which was buried with my mom's ashes two days later!
I remember being amazed and angered at how the funeral industry had found a way to insinuate itself into even a simple cremation that had no wake or 'viewing ' in a funeral home, no funeral home cars to the cemetery, etc.
(the funeral/memorial service was in a chapel on the grounds of the cemetery where mom's ashes were interred). First of all, the crematories themselves are usually OWNED by funeral companies. Secondly., they have contrived to have the law written in such a way that only funeral homes (or possibly a private ambulance service) can TRANSPORT a body from a hospital/morgue to the crematory. This is supposedly justified for health reasons. Presumably the funeral homes want to wedge themselves into the process so they can sell you as many 'services' as possible - everything from acting as intermediary with newspapers, to providing wake and viewing space, to limos etc to transport family and mourners, and, of course, the most expensive 'vessel' that they can get you to buy for the remains.
Even the cemetery squeezed as much money out as possible - eg. $350. to 'open the grave'. The latter is the same price as for six foot coffin excavation even though the 'urn' was no larger than a quart of milk. In my mother's case there was no option to 'scatter' her ashes somewhere as she wished to be buried in the same cemetery plot as HER mother. (who died at age nineteen when Mom was an infant).
I know what some are thinking: 'Why not casually dig a hole for mom's ashes with a gardening tool and ignore the cemetery people?'
Answer: It could be done, BUT, as soon as we would attempt to have the headstone altered (which couldn't be done without the cemetery's knowledge) to include mom's name they would know and they would bill for grave opening.
Anyway, perhaps this info is useful in some small way.