Ohio Funeral Director Pioneers New Disposition System

March 10, 2011
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imageWhen funeral home owner/operator Jeff Edwards recently purchased the first production unit of

the alkaline hydrolysis disposition system manufactured by Bio-Response Solutions, he had done

his homework. He knew he was making a responsible investment for his business, his families

and the environment. He knew he was selecting a process with long-term sustainability. What

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he may not have predicted is the interest it has stimulated among his colleagues who had heard

about this revolutionary disposition process and were eager to learn more from his firsthand

experience.

A year ago, Edwards began researching options for bringing dispositions in-house to Edwards

Funeral Service in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Although cremation

was an obvious option, he recognized its disadvantages. Many of his families were resistant to

fire-based disposition. Because of the Environmental Protection Agency’s increasingly strict

regulations on mercury emissions, a mercury scrubber retrofit would significantly drive up his

expenditure. His own commitment to the environment added to his reluctance to purchase a

crematory retort.

He wanted an option that families would embrace and which made good business sense, so he

expanded his research to include alkaline hydrolysis. He remembered hearing of this ?water

process? while a student at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, where he was taught to

think outside the box. The more he learned about alkaline hydrolysis disposition ? the only new

method of final disposition in more than 130 years ? the more he recognized it met his needs.

After speaking with Joe Wilson, CEO of Bio-Response Solutions, he felt he was dealing with the

right provider.

?Bio-Response Solutions was the only manufacturer with a safe, low-temperature, no-pressure

system,? Edwards point out. ?Those features are important for the safety of my staff, not to

mention the huge capital and long-term maintenance inherent with high-temperature, high-

pressure vessels, pumps, seals and steam boilers.? They were also the only manufacturer who

had equipment that was beyond the prototype and testing phases.

Yet would families accept and choose this revolutionary option? ?I discussed alkaline hydrolysis

disposition with nearly 100 cremation families last year and not one objected to it,? reports

Edwards. ?When some families asked whether it was possible to delay their planned cremation

until alkaline hydrolysis is available, I realized this method of final disposition could be not just

an additional option, but a preferred option over fire-based cremation.?

Bio-Response Solutions’ CEO has been developing and fine-tuning low-temperature alkaline

hydrolysis for nearly a decade. ?We have worked to perfect the process and have developed a

number of innovations that allow it to be equal or superior to high-temperature, high-pressure

systems,? notes Joe Wilson. ?We have superior geometry in our patent-pending tip technology.

We are cleaner after each cycle and use fewer energy resources. We believe we provide

independent and family-owned funeral homes a practical, affordable opportunity to set up their

own disposition operations, allowing them to compete with large corporate operators.?

Edwards likes that it is a natural and more dignified method than cremation. ?Alkaline

hydrolysis is a clean, green, natural process which mimics the natural decomposition of the body

in a matter of hours, achieving the same result that would take months or years with Mother

Nature,? he comments. ?There is no fire, no flame, no destructive burning of the body. It’s a

more dignified option.?

The installation of the Bio-Response alkaline hydrolysis disposition system for Edwards

Funeral Service was a simple process. Limited floor space was required. Existing utilities were

sufficient. ?Jeff’s machine was delivered, installed and running its first disposition all in the

same day,? notes Wilson.

Any surprises now that the unit is installed and in service? ?The only surprise for me has been

the ease with which this disposition method is accomplished,? reports Edwards. ?The equipment is highly automated and comes with a 10-inch color touchscreen computer. You simply key in

the weight of the body, the time length of the process and press the ‘Start’ button. At the end

of the process, remove the bones from the clean, sterile, stainless steel basket and the system is

ready for the next disposition. It has been a complete success.?

Based on his research and firsthand experience, Edwards projects that alkaline hydrolysis will

become the preferred method of disposition over cremation within the next decade. ?Alkaline

hydrolysis is a ‘game changer’ in the funeral industry. I think it has the potential to replace

cremation as a form of disposition, maybe as soon as in the next 5-10 years,? he predicts. ?The

industry will be surprised how accepting the public is.?

The reaction of families has been extremely positive. ?Once this method is properly described

to families and their questions honestly answered, I have yet to find a family that didn’t choose

alkaline hydrolysis over cremation,? says Edwards. ?I even had a direct burial family change to

alkaline hydrolysis disposition after picking up a brochure in our conference room about it.?

Edwards understands that doing his homework brought him to the best decision. ?I put the

same amount of effort into selecting my alkaline hydrolysis equipment as I put into selecting a

mortuary college 10 years ago,? remarks Edwards. ?I chose the Cincinnati College of Mortuary

Science for its rich history, Midwestern values and hands-on approach to learning. Looking

back, I don’t think I could have selected a better place to receive my mortuary education.

Looking forward, I don’t think I could have selected a better provider of alkaline hydrolysis

technology.?

CDFuneralNews

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