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.