Going green after death


SLM
#1
Going green after death

Saskatchewan has adopted a new, greener burial method. Will the ‘ick factor’ keep it from catching on?

By Emily Senger | Maclean's – 11 hours ago

When a loved one dies there are usually two options: burial or cremation. Saskatchewan has added a third to the list that’s been billed as a greener way to dispose of the dead. For those wanting to keep track of their environmental impact into the afterlife, the carbon footprint of the process is 90 per cent less than that of flame cremation. And no chemicals are released into the air.
The procedure, called alkaline hydrolysis, uses a machine to immerse the body in a solution of water and an alkaline chemical—otherwise known as lye. The water is heated and machines add pressure. Over two to 12 hours the body disintegrates, leaving behind two by-products: bone fragments, similar to the ashes from flame cremation, and a sterile liquid solution, which, if the local municipality permits, can be flushed down the drain.
While the Funeral and Cremation Services Council of Saskatchewan has approved alkaline hydrolysis, no one has installed a machine yet, says chairman Todd Lumbard. “People don’t know much about it, so they’re not demanding it,” he says. There’s also the question of the “ick factor,” as one Saskatchewan funeral director told CTV News.

A common criticism is that pouring the liquid remains into a sewer system is disrespectful and could pose a health hazard. But proponents point out the resulting liquid solution is treated and harmless, and can alternatively be used as garden fertilizer. Also, cremation was once illegal and widely considered taboo until the 1970s.
While the process hasn’t caught on in Canada, some funeral homes in the United States offer alkaline hydrolysis. Mark Riposta, a funeral director who owns three funeral homes in Maine, installed an alkaline hydrolysis unit in March and plans to add another. While these systems cost three times as much as a flame cremation unit, the cost per use is lower, and Riposta sees the environmental benefits as something that will change the industry over the next decade. “People are afraid of the unknown,” he says. “When they have a chance to actually see that the cremated remains are exactly the same as the cremated remains that come out of flame, only there’s none of the greenhouse gases, or environmental impact, it’s amazing. I’m not a tree hugger, but this is the right way to do this.”
Suzanne Scott, executive director of the Funeral Services Association of Canada, is cautious. Options exist for customers to minimize their environmental footprint, such as caskets made using only organic material, and “green” cemeteries that don’t use grave markers. There is also the problem of getting municipal permits for the new process. “What ends up going down into the sewer, and how is that handled?” asks Scott. “Each individual region has to deal with that.”


Going green after death - Yahoo! News Canada


So far I've been leaning towards cremation but, meh, I'd consider it as an option. Don't know about the 'pouring down the drain' part though. Blech.
 
Cliffy
+1
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Going green after death
So far I've been leaning towards cremation but, meh, I'd consider it as an option. Don't know about the 'pouring down the drain' part though. Blech.

I like the idea of using the remains as fertilizer though. At least put back something into the earth.
 
EagleSmack
+2
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Options exist for customers to minimize their environmental footprint, such as caskets made using only organic material, and “green” cemeteries that don’t use grave markers.


.

I saw this on HBO's Six Feet Under. Nate was buried naturally. Simply wrapped in a shroud and buried. No embalming. Poetic as he was a funeral director.

 
SLM
+1
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

I saw this on HBO's Six Feet Under. Nate was buried naturally. Simply wrapped in a shroud and buried. No embalming. Poetic as he was a funeral director.

I saw that too. (excellent show by the way.)

This process involves a machine to turn the body into liquid first, or something like that. Probably one of those things best not to know too much about.
 
petros
#5
I'll take the natural, wrapped in burlap version over being pickled, turned to goo or BBQed.
 
EagleSmack
+1
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

I saw that too. (excellent show by the way.)

IMO it was one of the best TV series and by many accounts the series finale and final scene was the best ever ending put together. Ending a series is difficult to get right but anyone who was a fan of the show knows the writers got this ending right. I don't know how they could have done it any better.

Final Six Minutes of the Six Feet Under Series Finale - YouTube

 
JLM
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by CliffyView Post

I like the idea of using the remains as fertilizer though. At least put back something into the earth.

Yep, for some it would just be a matter of carrying on in death what they did in life!
 
EagleSmack
+2
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

Yep, for some it would just be a matter of carrying on in death what they did in life!

Decomposing?
 
JLM
+2
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Decomposing?

Well, I was thinking more along the lines of creating sh*t!
 
MHz
#10
I would rather be eaten by a Polar Bear.
 
WLDB
+1
#11
Thats neat. There are quite a few ways one can get rid of a body. I've heard that some people have used cremains turned into an artificial diamond. Its pretty expensive though.

I'm just donating my body to medical research. I was going to do cremation til I read about the research thing. There's no point in having it burned or buried if it can be useful to someone. So it helps people, doesn't cost a dime and has virtually no impact on the environment.
 
petros
#12
Hats off to Larry...

Quote:

Hagman told the (New York) Times that after death he wanted his remains to be "spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people. People would eat a little of Larry." - Awesome!

 
MHz
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Thats neat. There are quite a few ways one can get rid of a body. I've heard that some people have used cremains turned into an artificial diamond. Its pretty expensive though.

I'm just donating my body to medical research. I was going to do cremation til I read about the research thing. There's no point in having it burned or buried if it can be useful to someone. So it helps people, doesn't cost a dime and has virtually no impact on the environment.

Does the pension fund that covers funerals then give the money saved to surviving relatives?
 
Goober
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Thats neat. There are quite a few ways one can get rid of a body. I've heard that some people have used cremains turned into an artificial diamond. Its pretty expensive though.

I'm just donating my body to medical research. I was going to do cremation til I read about the research thing. There's no point in having it burned or buried if it can be useful to someone. So it helps people, doesn't cost a dime and has virtually no impact on the environment.

And they make money off your parts - many do not know that.
 
The Old Medic
#15
Personally, I would rather not be embalmed, and be buried under a Rose garden. At least my organic chemicals would serve a useful purpose.

Of course, I want any parts of my body that someone else can use harvested first.
 
DaSleeper
+2
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by The Old MedicView Post

Personally, I would rather not be embalmed, and be buried under a Rose garden. At least my organic chemicals would serve a useful purpose.

Of course, I want any parts of my body that someone else can use harvested first.

Who would want the parts of an old wreck..
Last edited by DaSleeper; Nov 26th, 2012 at 03:52 PM..
 
WLDB
+1
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by MHzView Post

Does the pension fund that covers funerals then give the money saved to surviving relatives?

Possibly. My grandmother got more money than she needed for my grandfather's funeral and just kept the rest.

Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

And they make money off your parts - many do not know that.

Indeed there is that risk. I don't really care though as I'll be dead and not using them. If someone makes a buck off of it and someone else gets what they need it wont bother me. Dead bodies don't really mean much to me. The thing that made them important is gone once the person is dead.
Last edited by WLDB; Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:26 PM..Reason: sentence fragment.
 
SLM
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

IMO it was one of the best TV series and by many accounts the series finale and final scene was the best ever ending put together. Ending a series is difficult to get right but anyone who was a fan of the show knows the writers got this ending right. I don't know how they could have done it any better.

Final Six Minutes of the Six Feet Under Series Finale - YouTube

I concur! One of the best if not the best TV series ever.

I bought the DVD set a few years back, maybe two or three years ago, when they were on sale. I think they've spent a grand total of three months in my possession in that time, everybody wants to borrow it!

Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Thats neat. There are quite a few ways one can get rid of a body. I've heard that some people have used cremains turned into an artificial diamond. Its pretty expensive though.

I'm just donating my body to medical research. I was going to do cremation til I read about the research thing. There's no point in having it burned or buried if it can be useful to someone. So it helps people, doesn't cost a dime and has virtually no impact on the environment.

Quite a few ways to get rid of a body eh? I'm bookmarking that for future use.

You're cool with panicked out of the blue midnight calls for help right?

Lol.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Thats neat. There are quite a few ways one can get rid of a body. I've heard that some people have used cremains turned into an artificial diamond. Its pretty expensive though.

I'm just donating my body to medical research. I was going to do cremation til I read about the research thing. There's no point in having it burned or buried if it can be useful to someone. So it helps people, doesn't cost a dime and has virtually no impact on the environment.

Don't they return your body once they are done with it to your next of kin for disposal?
 
SLM
#20
Another 'option' they mention in the article is donating your body to the Body Farm.

Kind of neat. You could be helping to solve crimes in the afterlife.
 
WLDB
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

Don't they return your body once they are done with it to your next of kin for disposal?

For people who donate organs, sure. When it comes to research they use pretty much everything. There's usually nothing left. They're apparently in high demand.

Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post




Quite a few ways to get rid of a body eh? I'm bookmarking that for future use.

You're cool with panicked out of the blue midnight calls for help right?

Lol.

haha I figured someone would take that line out of context. I decided to leave it in anyway to amuse myself.
 
SLM
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

haha I figured someone would take that line out of context. I decided to leave it in anyway to amuse myself.

LOL. It just reminded me of the way that I would probably say it.
 
EagleSmack
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Another 'option' they mention in the article is donating your body to the Body Farm.

Kind of neat. You could be helping to solve crimes in the afterlife.

True... like your body can get stuffed in a car trunk... buried in a shallow grave... just be left out in the open... all kinds of cool CSI stuff.

Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

I concur! One of the best if not the best TV series ever.

I bought the DVD set a few years back, maybe two or three years ago, when they were on sale. I think they've spent a grand total of three months in my possession in that time, everybody wants to borrow it!
.

I am thinking of watching the series straight through again.

Did you see the HBO series Rome?
 
SLM
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

True... like your body can get stuffed in a car trunk... buried in a shallow grave... just be left out in the open... all kinds of cool CSI stuff.

Yeah, it's a 'scientific purpose' but just a different one than most people think of. I watch a lot of ID Discovery, I've seen it mentioned quite a few times.

Quote:

I am thinking of watching the series straight through again.

I definitely will at some point, it was just that good.

Quote:

Did you see the HBO series Rome?

Nope I haven't seen that one. I'm currently mid-Dexter and the one I really want to watch is Boardwalk Empire.
 
eh1eh
#25
We should compost spent human carcasses.
 
DaSleeper
+1
#26
For those interested.............
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services :: Whole Body Donation
 
SLM
+1
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

For those interested.............
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services :: Whole Body Donation

You know what catches my attention is this:

Quote:

It is important to remember that a School of Anatomy may refuse to accept a donation under certain circumstances. For instance, a donation may not be accepted if:

  • An autopsy was conducted.
  • Embalming occurred.
  • Amputation occurred.
  • The deceased had certain infectious diseases or was emaciated.
  • The school is not in need of donations.
NOTE: There may be additional exceptions. Please contact a school of your choice for further details.

Since we don't know when or how we will die, it seems like it would be a good idea to have alternative arrangements made even if this is your choice. If they refuse to accept the donation, what then? The family is left with the funeral costs? That can be a huge burden to leave on someone.
 
The Old Medic
+1
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

Who would want the parts of an old wreck..

Someone that needs a healthy liver, a healthy heart, a healthy kidney, corneas, etc., etc.

Since I don't smoke, I rarely drink alcohol, I do not use any form of illegal drug, I exercise regularly, and I eat sensibly, my body is not an "old wreck".

Maybe YOUR body is a wreck, but mine is not.
 
karrie
+3
#29  Top Rated Post
If only they could transplant funny bones.
 
WLDB
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post


Did you see the HBO series Rome?

Rome was awesome. I was really annoyed when they cancelled it. My only real complaint about it is that the second season was obviously rushed. Those story lines could have taken two seasons.
 

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