Traditional Funerals May Become a Thing of the Past | The Science of Boiling the Dead

Aquamation, a Form of Cremation: Better for the Environment?

1

By Marina Kamenev |Time.com

In Western societies, disposing of a dead body has come down to two choices: there’s burial, and there’s cremation. Occasionally, a corpse is donated to science, but even those remains usually make their way to the crematorium in the end.

But since climate change has piqued the world’s environmental awareness, it has become clear that death, despite being the most natural of processes, is bad for the environment. Coffins, most of which are made from nonbiodegradable chipboard, take up valuable land space. Even when coffins are biodegradable, embalming liquid, which often contains carcinogenic formaldehyde, can leak into the soil. Cremation, during which remains are burned at 1,562°F (850°C), comes with its own problems. According to the research of University of Melbourne professor Roger Short, the process can create up to 350 lb. (160 kg) of greenhouse gases per corpse, including the remains of the coffin.

(Watch a video about a burial in Hong Kong.)

In Australia, one company recently started selling a greener alternative. Aquamation Industries claims to offer a unique, cheaper, more carbon-neutral method of body disposal.

Read Full Story Here