Several companies are looking to alleviate the problem of overcrowded cemeteries while also helping the environment with groundbreaking new body disposal techniques. More and more people are looking into these innovative methods as alternatives to traditional funeral practices.
Because of a shortage of space, more people are opting to have their bodies cremated after death rather than buried. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, by 2030, 71% of all decreased bodies will be cremated. Meanwhile, other companies are offering alternatives to traditional cremation or burial.
One new Seattle startup company called The Urban Death Project will turn deceased human bodies into recycled material that is beneficial for the Earth. The company says that it can use decomposed human remains in order to fertilize the ground.
In 1998, former marine biologist of Sweden Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak developed a new system that is intended to speed up biodegradation. The process involves flash-freezing a body and then vibrating the body to make it fall into pieces.
The resulting human remains are then dried and buried along with woodchips in a coffin. Based on normal humidity conditions, the human remains will convert into soil within a year. At that point, the burial plot can be safely recycled.
There is another environmentally friendly decomposition method that is known to exist. The process is called Resomation, and it was invented by Scottish biochemist Sandy Sullivan. The process involves dunking a human body in a mixture of potassium hydroxide and hot water in order to make decomposition occur extremely quickly.
In just a few hours, the soft tissue of the human body develops into a non-toxic liquid that looks like black tea. After some chemical changes, the resulting liquid can be safely disposed into general waste-water.
Noteworthy is the fact that most innovative alternative post-life plans have been developed in Europe. In America, most people are strongly supportive of traditional cremation. The American industry is entrenched in the practice, making innovation slow to occur.
Workers at American morgues are essentially “death beauticians”. They make bodies presentable for funerals. Many Americans are disturbed by the idea that after the funeral, their body will be stripped for decomposition purposes. However, this “beautification” is uncommon in European countries.
Still, this practice is falling out of favor, as space for burials is simply running out.
As a result, some interesting ideas have been created. Scientists have used human ashes in the process of creating trees, jewels and even sex toys. While the human remains do not actually become these objects, their ashes are a part of the process.
Another company, Eternal Reefs, uses human ashes to help restore coral reefs in various waters, and many people feel that it is a great way that they can give back to the environment.
Whatever innovative method people choose to have after their deaths, it’s clear that more options are available than ever. Now people can help the environment even after they pass away.