Burial or cremation remain the traditional way of disposing of a body, but new methods are being found which are less damaging to the eco-system. Make an informed choice as to which you prefer.
Cremation accounts for over 70% of funerals in the UK. Each disposal requires an extremely hot furnace to burn for approximately three hours, whilst the combustion releases 200-400kg of greenhouse gases and often an unhealthy quantity of mercury too, from dental fillings. Councils have begun to investigate ways to make better use of resources, and in the summer of 2013 Redditch Borough Council was the first in the UK to start using heat from the local crematorium to boost temperatures in their swimming pool.
Crematoria have also been researching more eco-friendly ways of disposing of bodies. A technique called alkaline hydrolysis has been used for years in America to dispose of animal remains, and is being adopted there for human bodies. The process uses less energy than cremation, and releases no harmful gases or particles into the air. Alkali and hot water bathe the body and liquify it until is can be washed down the drain, leaving just bones to be ground down and buried or scattered. The system is being promoted in Europe by Scottish company Resomation Limited, a subsidiary of Co-Op Funeralcare created in 2007.
Instead of dissolving body tissue, Promession fresze-dries the body so that it becomes extremely brittle. Gentle vibrations will then cause it to shatter and eventually a dry powder will be left, weighing approximately one third of the body’s original weight. This can then be buried in a shallow grave for rapid decomposition, rather than a traditional deep burial which slows decomposition un-naturally. The process was designed by a Swede determined to bring natural processes back into the disposal of bodies.
For more information, take a look at:
YouTube Video on alternative methods of disposal
Resomation BBC Report