In a world where environmentally friendly options are flooding in on every front, the traditional funeral practices of cremation and interment don't seem as practical as they once did. Some green burial ideas, such as the "infinity mushroom" plan whereby mushrooms will break down your corpse and neutralize heavy metals found in your remains, are still in the starry-eyed development phase. For those who want to plan an eco-friendly funeral in advance, though, there are already several options available now or in the near future. Here are three alternatives to a traditional cremation.
Also known as alkaline hydrolysis, this process has also been touted as a sort of "green cremation." Instead of using non-renewable fuel to produce a pile of ashes, resomation uses chemicals and about three hundred gallons of water to dissolve the body. Another advantage is its treatment of dental fillings. Fillings can be extracted from the remains, preventing the mercury pollution caused by burning them in a traditional cremation. As green burials go, this option may be the best only in areas that have plentiful water.
Known by several terms including "corpse composting" and "freeze drying," this new process promises to have no environmental impact or, if any, a positive one. It involves freezing the body until brittle, disintegrating into tiny particles by the use of vibrations, and then removing any metal from the resultant dust before freeze-drying it. The final result is a small box full of dust. This is purposely placed in a shallow grave to encourage microbial activity. The matter composts relatively quickly and becomes one with the ground, after which it can provide energy for growing plants. Unfortunately, the process has not yet been approved for use on humans, but it's ready for use as soon as it becomes legal.
3. Reef restoration
For those with a deep connection to marine life, this option promises a continuing connection after death. Although the process starts with traditional cremation, it adds an environmentally friendly element by supporting marine life for years to come. The cremated remains are combined with environmentally friendly cement to synthesize a reef structure. The artificial reef is then placed underwater as a part of a larger reef formation in a conservation effort that preserves marine wildlife habitats.
These three alternatives to traditional burial and cremation are all very different, but they share a vision. They all work toward the goal of sustainable funerals and try to help departed loved ones find rest in a way that does only good and no harm to the environment. Contact a professional funeral home, like Affordable Burial & Cremation, to further discuss eco-friendly alternatives to cremation.