I have a fascination with eco-friendly burial here on Groovy. Mainly because I’ve learned too much about the ‘traditional, modern’ methods and I’ve been scared shitless about what might be done to my body after I’ve passed. Seriously, if you take a look at some of our articles on the topic, you’ll agree that worms are a pleasant alternative to embalming.
One of the alternatives that’s championed and has grown in use here in the States is the use of cremation. Interestingly, of all the methods beyond conventional burial, this one is the least earth-friendly. First off, cremation uses an immense amount of energy to reduce your body to ash. Additionally, a great deal of mercury is released into the air from the process, mainly because of tooth fillings. In the UK alone, it is estimated that crematories contribute almost 16% of annual mercury emissions.
So, what to do if you still want to speed the decay process along and become ashes to ashes before your friends at the local cemetery (who, will actually become soup)? A new technology called Resomation aims to produce the same result — but with water instead of flame.
“Resomation is an environmentally responsible, non-burn, water based process which sympathetically returns the body to its constituent elements. It utilises and advances a naturally occurring alkaline hydrolysis reaction to rapidly breakdown the body leaving behind a pure white bio-ash which can be returned to loved ones.”
In other words, within the first 30 minutes, the building blocks of life –amino acids, small peptides, sugars and salts — are removed (the site mentions that these have no DNA value and as a result no connection to the original owner) and bone ‘shadows’ are left behind. “The bone shadows are pure calcium phosphate and although they maintain the structure of the bone they are very soft and easily crushed into powder or ‘Bio-ash’. This Bio-ash can be returned to relatives as in cremation.”
Interesting, right? I’m not sure I want to be “resomated” as much as buried naturally — but the increase in choices (especially for those who can’t bear to think about their body being burned) — is nice to see. About 1,000 people in the United States have opted for Resomation. Current costs are about $600 — compared to the thousands spent on traditional burial.