We spend a lot of time thinking about eco-friendly ways to live, but what about your impact on the environment after death? Aquamation, a new method of body disposal, is starting to provide a green alternative to burial and cremation, both of which can have negative impacts on the environment through greenhouse gases and leaching of embalming liquids into the soil.
The company, Aquamation Industries, is based in Australia and disposes of corpses by putting them in a stainless steel vat containing a potassium-hydroxide and water solution, which takes four hours to dissolve the body until all that’s left is the skeleton, which is then crushed and given to the family of the deceased. The remaining liquid, is then tested and adjusted for the correct pH and can be used like a fertilizer, according to the company.
Though aquamation sounds relatively eco-friendly, some are wary of the potassium hydroxide, a chemical that’s similar to oven cleaner, dissolving human bodies the same way it dissolves cooking oils and grease. Some environmental scientists claim that it would be just as good to be buried (in biodegradable materials).
We’re no scientists, so we can’t tell you which burial method does the best by mother nature, but we wonder whether alternative burial methods could really take off enough to make a difference. Would you elect to be aquamated? Do you have a special emotional or cultural attachment to a particular burial method? Tell us what you think of green burials in the comments section below: