Alkaline Hydrolysis: “Green Cremation”

This article was written by LifeAdmin, on January 25, 2016

The National Funeral Directors Association projects 48.5% of Americans who die this year, or about 1.27 million people, will be cremated. The percentage jumps to a projected 56.2% in 2020 and 71% in 2030. Cremations are on the rise because it is more affordable, and more environmentally friendly. But is it the best we can do for our environment? Not a lot of people know about another option, Alkaline Hydrolysis.

What is Alkaline Hydrolysis exactly? Alkaline hydrolysis (also called biocremation and/or resomation) is a process for the disposal of human remains which produces less carbon dioxide and pollutants than cremation. The process is being marketed as an alternative to the traditional options of burial or cremation.

So what does that really mean?

+ It involves submerging the body in a water and potassium hydroxide.

+ The dead body is then pressurized and heated for around three hours.

+ This leaves a thick, green-brown tinted liquid that is flushed away.

Alkaline hydrolysis uses lye, 300°F heat and huge amounts of pressure to destroy bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders that look similar to pressure cookers. It also eliminates concerns about crematorium emissions, including carbon dioxide, which can be released into the air as part of the process.

Because of its environmental advantages, some in the funeral industry say it could someday rival burial and cremation. This process was actually developed more than two decades ago to get rid of animal carcasses. It’s a more efficient and environmentally-friendly of getting rid of dead bodies, according to scientists.

But getting the public to accept the process is challenge. The process enables a portion of the human remains to be flushed down a drain, and some have branded this ‘undignified.’

‘I’m guessing that the people who say that, don’t know that in the embalming process, for a traditional funeral, the blood drained out of the body goes right down the drain,’ said Ms Doughty, who explains in this quirky video that explains the entire process of Alkaline Hydrolysis. As well as the liquid, the process leaves a dry residue similar in appearance to cremated remains. It could be returned to the family in an urn or buried in a cemetery.

You can still have some of your loved one to keep with you, but most of the body is being disposed of in the greenest form possible. A green alternative to Cremation, a much more eco-friendly process than flame-based cremation. Compared to cremation, Alkaline Hydrolysis offers:

+ More than 75% reduction of carbon footprint.

+ Uses 1/8 the amount of energy of flame-based cremation.

+ Pacemakers and some other medical devices do not need to be removed prior to the process as with flame-based cremation.

+ Mercury from dental amalgam is contained and recycled, not vaporized. Preserves 20+% more bone fragments than flame cremation.

So what do you think, is this something you would consider?

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