The world is full of instances of burial customs that seem unusual to us now, Egyptian mummification, Vikings being released to sea on ships, or bodies being discarded in bogs. However today space constraints and environmental issues are pushing people to discover new alternatives to traditional modern burial plans.
The most recent of those to land on American shores is a method that makes use of heat, pressure and chemical reactions to liquefy a body in only a few hours, leaving behind the sterile remains that can be poured into the wastewater system.
Uncommon customs of launching cremated remains into space to old fashion burials in hand-dug graves, are now a “new” developing trend. Right here are a number of the most modern choices for our end of life events.
A St. Petersburg, Florida funeral home, is currently the first location in the U.S where customers can chose to have their tissues dissolved as an alternative to conventional cremation. The manner, called “bio-cremation,” makes use of heated water and potassium hydroxide to liquefy the body, leaving only bones behind. The bones are then pulverized, the same as in ordinary cremation, and the bone fragments are returned to the loved ones.
More families every year are switching to cremation because of costs but also in reducing the carbon footprint that they leave behind. Cremation has almost doubled in the last 15 years, from 24% to 47%. Bio-cremation is a more environmentally friendly process than flame-based cremation.
The cremation process does require a gas-fueled fire that reaches a temp of 1,600 to 1,800 degrees. This fire releases carbon dioxide into the air in addition to other trace chemicals such as mercury from dental fillings. The Bio-cremation process only requires hot water around 350 degrees F and takes about the same time as a traditional cremation, less energy-intensive. Dental fillings and other medical implants can be removed from the bone before the liquid is dumped into the municipal wastewater system for processing.
The process breaks the body down into simple amino acids, leaving no DNA behind, nothing is humanly identifiable.
- The “Natural” Burial Option
Not a new invention but a return to the old ways, natural burial plans are burials that take place without the use of embalming and without the concrete vaults that line graves present day cemeteries. Bodies are placed on a shroud or placed in a biodegradable casket, the idea is that they will decompose naturally. This is a better option for the environment and much less expensive that the traditional burial plan.
Today there are more than 50 natural burial sites in the United States, and many more conventional cemeteries with a section set aside for natural grave sites.
The movement is driven by means of dissatisfaction with regular funeral plans. Most people, when they find out the costs of a traditional burial, they’re pretty horrified. Without a Burial Insurance policy in place for the family the costs can be outrageous. They cannot believe the price the funeral homes charge. Then there is this growing problem about the environmental effects of all of those techniques and of all of the goods and resources dedicated to this modern method.
In addition, many natural cemeteries double as nature preserves, and many people like the idea of contributing to the ecosystem after dying. The Green Burial Council can help you find a provider for many environmental friendly burial options.
With some of the green burial options you’re actually benefiting the environment, you’re allowing the body to return to the “cycle of life”.
- The Eternal Reef Burial Option
For those that would prefer to rest in a more aquatic environment after death, we have the Eternal Reef burial option. A Georgia based company Eternal Reefs will create an artificial reef out of concrete and human cremains. The constructed concrete orbs are then positioned in areas where natural reefs are needing restoration. These objects then help to attract fish and other organisms that turn these remains into an undersea habitat.
The cremation process required for the Eternal Reef Burial isn’t as green as a natural burial due to the combustion process needed for the cremation.
- The Freeze-dried Burial
The new comer to the green burial scene is the process called Promession. The Swedish marine biologist Susanne Wiigh-Masak invented this process, it consist of dipping the corpse into liquid nitrogen, this makes the body very brittle. Vibrations then shake the body into pieces and the water vapor is evaporated away in a special vacuum chamber. A special filter then filters out any mercury fillings or surgical implants, the powdered remains are then laid to rest in a shallow grave.
Because is a shallow burial, oxygen and water can still mix with the powdered remains, allowing the remains to be turned into compost.
The Green, or natural burial methods is a great way of caring for the dead with less environmental impact than the traditional burial methods this aids in the conservation of natural resources. The Green Burial movement will continue to gain in popularity due to the cost savings and environmental impact.