A Guide to Water Cremations: The Eco-conscious Funeral Alternative
If you watched the News on Monday, you will have seen that the Co-operative Funeralcare is going to start doing “water cremations”. Your first thought is probably: “What!? How can your body be cremated with water? I drink it every day!”
Also known as Alkaline Hydrolysis or “resomation”, it turns out that the UK has been a bit slow off the mark in offering water cremation. America, Canada, South Africa, and Ireland already having provided this type of funeral for a while.
This innovative approach offers a unique and eco-conscious alternative to traditional flame-based cremations. In this blog, we will delve into the process involved and its environmental benefits.
What Is Water Cremation?
Water cremation involves the use of a water-based process to gently accelerate the natural decomposition of human remains. The process utilises a combination of water, temperature, and alkaline chemicals to break down the body into its basic building blocks. This technique replicates the natural process of decomposition but in a controlled and accelerated manner.
The Water Cremation Process in More Detail
The water cremation process takes place in a specially designed stainless steel vessel called an alkaline hydrolysis chamber. The body is placed inside, and the chamber is then filled with a mixture of water and an alkaline solution, such as potassium hydroxide. The chamber is sealed, and heat is applied to maintain a specific temperature.
Over the course of four to six hours, the alkaline hydrolysis process takes place. The combination of high temperature and alkalinity breaks down the body's organic matter, leaving behind a sterile liquid solution. The liquid, which contains amino acids, peptides, and sugars, is safe for disposal and can be returned to the environment without causing harm.
The leftover bones are put into a cremator, crushed, and powdered. It is those powdered bones that are given to the family in a similar way as ashes are given after a cremation.
Why Is Water Cremation Being Used?
It sounds obvious when you think about it, but cremation by “water” produces a lot less greenhouse gases and, reportedly, a seventh less of the energy used in normal cremations.
Therefore, water cremations are eco-friendly and reduce greenhouse gases. In a time when we are all looking for ways to be more sustainable, it does seem that water cremations may be the way forward.
Most people include their funeral wishes in their Will to prevent any uncertainty and to ensure that their family knows what they want to happen after their death. If you would like to review your funeral wishes or any other part of your Will, then please feel free to contact GoodLaw Solicitors as we would be happy to discuss these with you.