The extent of how “green” a funeral and burial can be is up to the individual; the process can be as simple as wrapping the deceased in a cotton shroud before lowering them into the ground. Lately a new “green cremation” process called alkaline hydrolysis has becoming available in Canada.

Although I’ve been hearing about my friend’s “green burials” and alternatives to cremation for a number of years it’s just lately I’ve actually considered researching these funeral options.

So what’s all this about Hot Water?

Both of my parents were cremated and ashes scattered following their preferences to not be buried in plots with headstones. Their main reasoning was not to take up space when they were dead. At the time the only option was traditional cremation. Lately a new process called alkaline hydrolysis or aquamation is becoming available. As I understand, it uses hot water (100-degree alkaline solution for 12 hours) to accelerate decomposition while using less energy than cremation.

 

 

It looks like the costs of this new form of cremation works out to $1,000 to $2,000, about the same as traditional cremation.

I have a call in to a Hamilton area provider to find out what I will need to know “when” I am ready.

 

 

In the meantime, three articles …

 

The first is about “Water Cremation”:

“Process dissolves body in alkaline solution leaving only bones to be dried, pressed into powder”

Aquamation gains popularity as funeral home becomes 2nd in Quebec to dissolve the dead

 

The second is also about “Water Cremation”:

Hilton’s AquaGreen Dispositions a 2015 startup in Smith’s Falls, Ontario that specializes in alkaline hydrolysis

Smiths Falls, Ont., funeral business dissolves the dead, pours them into town sewers

 

The third covers a lot more options with good links:

Recent New York Times article (plus some excerpts)

Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What to Know

The specifics of a green burial vary widely, but typically they require far fewer resources for the care of the body and skip a number of the traditional steps, making them better for the environment. Plus, they can save families on funeral costs.

Interest in these pared-down, eco-friendly options has grown as people look for ways to cut their carbon footprint. Nearly 54 percent of Americans are considering a green burial, and 72 percent of cemeteries are reporting an increased demand, according to a survey released earlier this year by the National Funeral Directors Association.

The Green Burial Council’s steps for minimizing negative environmental effects include forgoing embalming, skipping concrete vaults, rethinking burial containers and maintaining and protecting natural habitat. Choices can be made at each step of the death care process to limit waste, reduce the carbon footprint and even nourish the local ecosystem.

The extent of how “green” a burial can be is up to the individual; the service can be as simple as wrapping the deceased in a cotton shroud before lowering them into the ground.

Conservation Burials

Perhaps the most personal reason of all is one where the idea of green burial simply speaks to a person. They might find comfort in their body “returning to nature,” or want to take part in a conservation burial, where burial fees are also used to cover land protection, restoration and management. “Not only does conservation burial help protect land, but the burial area becomes hallowed ground, restored to its natural condition and protected forever with a conservation easement,” explains the Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. “Citizens who support conservation are offered a more meaningful burial option with the certainty that protected land is the ultimate legacy to leave for future generations.”