Exploring the Concept of Water Cremation
In recent years, traditional burial and cremation methods have faced criticism due to their environmental impact. As people become more conscious of their ecological footprint, alternative funeral practices have gained popularity. One such method that has emerged as a greener alternative to traditional cremation is water cremation, scientifically known as alkaline hydrolysis or aquamation. In this blog post, we are exploring the concept of water cremation and its potential benefits for both the environment and the grieving process.
Understanding Water Cremation
Water cremation is a gentle, environmentally friendly process that uses a combination of water, heat, and alkaline chemicals to break down the body. It involves placing the deceased in a specialized vessel filled with a solution of water and potassium hydroxide. The mixture is then heated and subjected to pressure, which accelerates the natural decomposition process.
During the process, the body undergoes hydrolysis, a chemical reaction that occurs when water reacts with the body’s tissues, breaking them down into their basic building blocks—amino acids, peptides, sugars, and salts. The resulting liquid is composed of these dissolved compounds and is commonly referred to as “alkaline hydrolysis effluent.” The solid remains, similar to traditional cremation, are reduced to bone fragments, which can then be processed into ashes and returned to the family.
Environmental Benefits of Water Cremation
1. Reduced Carbon Footprint: Water cremation is considered more environmentally friendly than traditional cremation because it produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Traditional cremation relies on burning fossil fuels to generate the necessary heat, which contributes to carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions. In contrast, water cremation consumes significantly less energy, making it a greener option.
2. Water Conservation: Despite the term “water cremation,” the process actually uses a minimal amount of water, usually around 300 gallons (1135 liters). The water used in the process is re-usable, undergoing filtration and purification before being returned to the environment. Compared to burial, water cremation reduces the amount of water required to maintain burial grounds and avoids the potential contamination of groundwater from embalming fluids.
3. Chemical-Free Process: Unlike traditional embalming methods, which involve the use of formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals, water cremation does not introduce harmful substances into the environment. The alkaline hydrolysis effluent is sterile and free of toxins, and any remaining residue can be safely recycled or disposed of without harm.
4. Preserving Land Resources: Traditional burial methods often require land for cemeteries, leading to deforestation and reduced land availability. Water cremation eliminates the need for burial plots and allows families to choose more environmentally friendly memorial options, such as memorial gardens or scattering ashes at sea.
In addition to the environmental benefits, water cremation also provides emotional benefits for families:
1. Gentle and Respectful: Water cremation offers a gentle and respectful process for the deceased. The remains are handled with care, and the process is less intrusive than traditional cremation. Families find solace in knowing that their loved ones are treated with dignity during this final phase.
2. Flexibility in Memorialization: The resulting ashes from water cremation are similar to those from traditional cremation, offering families the same range of memorialization options. From scattering the ashes in a meaningful location to preserving them in an urn, families have the freedom to choose a memorial that best honors their loved one’s memory.
As our society becomes increasingly concerned about sustainability and environmental impact, alternative funeral practices are gaining traction. Water cremation, or alkaline hydrolysis, stands out as a greener and more eco-friendly option than traditional burial.
More information about water cremation can be found at the link below: