Cremation Not Green Enough? Try Bio-Cremation..

December 2, 2009
Advertisement

imageVANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) – Worried you haven’t been green enough in life? Don’t let death come in the way of a more eco-friendly you.

From coffins made of recycled cardboard to saying no to embalming chemicals that seep into the soil, people are increasingly searching for ways to make their final resting place a more environmentally-friendly one.

Now cremation, the choice today of a third of Americans and more than half of Canadians, is getting a green make-over.

A standard cremation spews into the air about 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas blamed for global warming — along with other pollutants like dioxins and mercury vapor if the deceased had silver tooth fillings.

Advertisement

On top of that each cremation guzzles as much energy, in the form of natural gas and electricity, as a 500-mile (800 kilometer) car trip.

Enter alkaline hydrolysis, a chemical body-disposal process its proponents call “bio-cremation” and say uses one-tenth the natural gas of fire-based cremation and one-third the electricity.

C02 emissions are cut by almost 90 percent and no mercury escapes as fillings and other metal objects, such as hip or knee replacements, can be recovered intact and recycled.

“The target audience are those people who buy organic salmon rather than farmed salmon. Those that buy a hybrid rather than a regular car,” said Paul Rahill, president of the cremation division of Matthews International Corp.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company that makes caskets and other funeral products is planning the world’s first commercial launch of human alkaline hydrolysis in January at a funeral home in St Petersburg, Florida.

The technique is not new but has only been used to dispose of laboratory animals and medical research cadavers at a few institutions.

Its commercial use has been held up partly because of its cost — the equipment is four times as expensive as that of traditional cremation — and because state and provincial legislation may need to be changed, especially laws governing what can be disposed of in the water system.

Overcoming peoples’ squeamishness when they hear the process described, what Rahill calls the ‘ick’ factor, is also an obstacle.

The Catholic Church in parts of the United States has objected, saying the practice “is not a respectful way to dispose of human remains”.

In alkaline hydrolysis the body is submerged in water in a stainless steel chamber. Heat, pressure and potassium hydroxide, chemicals used to make soap and bleach, are added to dissolve the tissue.

Two hours later all that’s left is some bone residue and a syrupy brown liquid that is flushed down the drain. The bones can be crushed and returned to the family as with cremation.

“This is the first new alternative to come into the (cremation) market in over 100 years,” said Allen Bessel, president of Transition Science, a Toronto-based company that owns the exclusive rights to the process in Canada. It is targeting a commercial launch next spring.

“It is very quiet, there is no noticeable odor that comes from it and there is no emission. The concerns of area residents would be much less if (an alkaline hydrolysis machine) was being installed than if a crematorium was built,” Bessel said.

Although Rahill says the public response has been mostly positive, an attempt to introduce human alkaline hydrolysis in New York state a couple of years ago was opposed by the Catholic Church and others, and the bill was dropped.

Source: Reuters.com

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
CDFuneralNews
Advertisement

You may be interested

Mean Internet Comments – Funeral Edition
Funeral Industry News
230 views
Funeral Industry News
230 views

Mean Internet Comments – Funeral Edition

CDFuneralNews - June 20, 2018

We shine a light on some of the harsh words posted on social media towards DISRUPT Media's CEO, Ryan Thogmartin.…

FTC Releases Results of Undercover Funeral Rule Investigation… 4 Regions Bombed
Funeral Industry News
1114 views
Funeral Industry News
1114 views

FTC Releases Results of Undercover Funeral Rule Investigation… 4 Regions Bombed

Justin Crowe - June 18, 2018

The FTC has released its report detailing the results of its undercover Funeral Rule investigation for 2017. Last year, the…

RELEASE THE FN CRAKN! | FUNERAL nation 114
Funeral Industry News
290 views
Funeral Industry News
290 views

RELEASE THE FN CRAKN! | FUNERAL nation 114

CDFuneralNews - June 18, 2018

It's a barn burner... The Commander is moving his Command Post!!! Besides the Commander on the move, the boys speak…

Comments