Aquamation or Resomation:
A ‘Green’ Alternative to the traditional Funeral
So what exactly is aquamation
Aquamation does basically as
its name suggests, and disposes of a body by water instead of fire.
It is deemed a more natural, ethical and environmentally friendly alternative
to cremation or burial.
Why is aquamation or resomation
Whereas cremation creates omissions,
and uses significant energy in the process; aquamation uses a natural process
called alkaline hydrolysis. In fact, Aquamation uses just 10% of
the energy used during a cremation process and there are NO air emissions.
No organic matter can be discharged from cremation chimneys, and no methane
gas or toxic chemicals can leak from a burial casket and can seep into
the water table.
Aquamation is heralded as
the new, truly environmentally friendly alternative to cremation or burial!
How does aquamation or resomation
The deceased body is placed
in a clean, stainless steel vessel, and water, heat and alkalinity are
gently applied to accelerate a natural process of tissue hydrolysis.
Our bodies are actually 70% water, so this natural process simply returns
us to a natural form and a natural component of our universe – h2O.
Some solid bones remain, but these can ordinarily be ground to provide
ashes if required. And the water is returned to the earth, where
it makes a fantastic natural fertilizer!
So what about the funeral ritual?
The traditional funeral ritual
remains the same. A funeral ceremony can still be conducted if so
desired. The casket, or coffin, can be viewed and once the curtains
have been closed, the aquamation process can be performed. The ashes
that result from the process can be returned to the family in a suitable
How did aquamation or resomation
come into being as a disposition method?
It was initially used by the
farming industry as the most natural, safe and environmentally sound method
of disposition for animals. It was then introduced by a prominent
medical research establishment – the MAYO Clinic, and in 2008 the UK Cremation
Society voted to change its constitution to allow it to support aquamation,
as they viewed it as a superior means of disposal. It is still in
limited use within the funeral industry, although there are predictions
that this with change dramatically within the next decade. There
are currently only six states in the U.S. where there is a funeral home
offering the resomation process, and some of these have been dogged by
bureaucracy from an industry resisting change. We published a story recently
about a funeral home in Ohio that was encountering problems in introducing
resomation into their services.
For a process that is environmentally-friendly
in many ways, that fits with most religious and faith philosophy, we should
surely be bringing aquamation or resomation into the mainstream and making
it accessible for all those who would prefer this as a ‘green’ funeral
Alkaline hydrolysis, otherwise
referred to as Bio cremation, Aquamation or resomation is now legal in
California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota,
& Oregon. New Hampshire did pass legislation to approve the process
but a 1 year moratorium was passed whilst the technology was studied before
public use. Legislation to approve Alkaline hydrolysis is being considered
in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio & Pennsylvania.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
Read TIME magazine ‘Aquamation:
A Greener Alternative to Cremation?’
Last Revised: 04/22/2014