Fast Company

Grisly Green Cremation Promises to Dissolve Your Corpse

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Green cremations and burials are often gruesome. Take, for example, Swedish company Promessa's scheme to dunk corpses into liquid nitrogen and break them down into tiny pieces. Or Resomation's process, which breaks down corpses with alkaline hydrolysis. The latest green cremation tactic to come down the pipeline--decomposing flesh and organs while leaving bones intact--isn't much more comforting.

Dubbed Aquamotion, the eco-cremation scheme has corpses dunked into potassium-filled steel containers that are heated up by water, dissolving everything but the bones in four hours. The process has a number of benefits--it uses just 10% of the energy of a traditional cremation and preserves artificial implants for reuse. (Who doesn't want a hip implant from a cadaver?)

The process isn't exactly new. The Aquamotion website explains:

Aquamation has virtually taken over as the preferred method of disposal of diseased animal bodies in the USA and Europe. The method has been used since 1992 to dispose of animals with diseases such as mad cow disease or scabies. While cremations and burials fail to destroy these diseases, aquamation is the only acceptable method that effectively removes the risk of further spread and contamination.

Aquamotion has been surprisingly popular since it was introduced last month in Australia. According to New Scientist, 60 people have already signed up for the service, which costs approximately $3,500. That's about the same price as a cremation and less expensive than a standard burial.

The downside? Explaining to the kids that grandma has been dissolved like an Alka-Seltzer. Of course, explaining the traditional cremation process isn't that much easier.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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7 Comments

  • Ed Gazvoda

    Nate O'Shaughnessey,

    LOL. The cost of the system is $128,000. The cost of the service should be less than the cost of a cremation.

    The cost to process a 200 pound human would be between $15-30, a lot less than operating a crematory.

    For the sake of the unborn, the most affected group by mercury spewed from crematories, spend your money wisely on a CycledBurial(TM).

    Our process saves several thousand dollars compared to the cost of an unsterile burial.

    I agree with Nate, the money and resources being consumed currently by both cremation and unsterile burial would be better spent on the living. www.CycledLife.com

  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    ok, $15-30, phew!
    Even if it were a little more than that; that is a more than reasonable price for such a service.

    Never thought I'd be happy to hear of a new human corpse disposal service...
    They usually get more expensive and more extravacant here in america (and any other society as it "progresses")

    Maybe I'm just cheap with how my remains are handled after I pass, but I really would prefer the cheapest and most responsible disposal available. I'd rather be remembered for what i did when i was alive, and have my remaining resources go to further the purpose i was alive for than to have a place people can go to remember me. Maybe my children can plant a tree or something for me, then they can go there to remember me and all that. I'm sure a healthy oak tree will likely outlive any memory of my life.

    Anyway, thanks Ed! you've turned a cynic into a supporte! actually probably an advocate even.

  • Ed Gazvoda

    CycledLife(TM) uses a low-temperature alkaline hydrolysis process to offer families the option for a CycledBurial(TM). A CycledBurialâ„¢ is a hygienic burial. It allows for a burial without the necessity of incurring the cost of a coffin, vault, or cemetery plot. 100% of one's body is returned to the earth. It is available for $128,000 USD. www.CycledLife.com.

  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    Thanks Ed!
    Keep up the great work!
    I truly believe you're doing society a great service.
    Proof that profitibilty and a positive progression can be found together.
    And yes, I do believe you will be very very profitiable with this, and have a very positive progression inour society.

  • Tom Harnish

    A thoughtful local company sent me a birthday card.

    It said, in essence, "Happy 65th birthday. Have you ever considered cremation?"

    Lovely sentiment, don't you think?

  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    seriously? if anyone should have more tactful marketing, they shoud be up there on the list.
    Yes, that's a lovely way to introduce your services...

  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    that's gross.
    But as you pointed out, just about every method of posthumous corpse disposal is.
    I certainly give it to anyone that works in that field. It has to be taken care of, I'm just glad there are people out there who can stomach it.
    So, thanks guys!
    But please keep your service advertisements out of the superbowl ads, and off FOOD NETWORK... pretty please.