Oct 3, 2011

Burn or Dissolve?

The Resomator BBC
A Florida funeral home has debuted a new alternative to cremation, known as the Resomator, that uses heated alkaline water to dissolve bodies in about three hours. Why do we need an alternative to cremation in the first place? Turns out cremation devices use lots of energy, release a fair amount of carbon emissions, and, in the U.K., are responsible for 16% of mercury emissions.
Created by a Glaswegian company, the Resomator submerges bodies in a potassium hydroxide solution in its steel chamber, then pressurizes (to about ten atmospheres) and heats (to over 350 degrees F) the solution for about three hours. After that, the resulting liquid is simply poured into the regular sewage system--it apparently poses no environmental risk and has passed Florida's undoubtedly strict laws for this sort of bio-disposal. Bones remain and are pulverized to ash in the usual way, and any metal bits (including mercury and any prostheses) are retained to be disposed of or recycled in a more responsible way.
Florida is just one of seven states that has legalized the Resomator, but it may catch on in others. The president of Resomation Ltd, the company behind the device, says it emits a third less greenhouse gas and uses a mere seventh of the energy of a cremation device, let alone the benefits of safe extraction of mercury and other metals. The company seems hopeful that its macabre but useful creation will soon receive approval in its native U.K..


  1. When I opted out of the Mortuary Science curriculum in college, I took one thing with me. I believe in planning ahead. I have my tombstone in place at the cemetary and have been grappling with the decision of burial vs. cremation, for years. I don't like either choice. Imagine that? Now, you throw this new method in the mix. Something to think about. Not sure I'd like the essence of me poured in a sewage system after I disolved, though.

  2. sign me up and use all that remains to water some nice plants with!


  3. ps hasn't the mafia been doing this for years....

  4. I've had cremation as my choice for so long now -- I don't know that I can switch.

  5. LOL @ Alaina..! I guess they are reversing the process used to dispose of Jimmy Hoffa..!

  6. Not a bad option-Once I'm gone I'm gone, wasting land that could be used for something else seems silly to me,so it's either cremation or liquification!

  7. Man I hate pressure!!!!!
    Hahahahahahahaha Amazing, one seldom thinks of any options than burial or cremation. Some folks are just creative in destruction.

    Thanks for the post, I love to read something I did not know, or think.
    Sherry & Jack (about ready for Resomation)

  8. Ewe- I don't think I want to be eaten by acid- it would seem too much like a bad margarita binge gone horribly wrong!

    I shall do my part to manage my carbon footprint while on Earth so I can afford one last emission before I pass to the afterlife!

  9. I think it's a good and responsible idea. There are going to be people who will have an "EWW" reaction to it, though. You know there will be.


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