A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die is now available! Here’s a small excerpt from the chapter titled “We Can Do That? New Trends in Death Care” about alkaline hydrolysis.
A New Eco-Friendly Disposal Method
While not in widespread use by funeral homes yet, there’s a relatively new process that liquefies the body into a coffee-colored sterile solution that can be safely disposed of in water or on land without concern about toxic chemicals.
This developing green alternative to burial and cremation accelerates natural decomposition. It has different names given by four different providers: BioSAFE Engineering calls it Water Resolution®, Eco-Green Cremation System calls it Natural Cremation, Matthews International, Inc. calls it Bio-cremation or Resomation®, and CycledLife calls it by its official name, alkaline hydrolysis.
The body is placed in a specialized tank that is filled with a strong alkali solution that is brought up to high temperature and pressure. The tissue dissolves into basic life-building blocks of amino acids, peptides, sugars, and soap (actually, the salts of fatty acids), leaving white, brittle skeletal remains that are easily powdered to ash. These sterile “bone shadows” can be returned as ashes if the family desires.
The process neutralizes embalming fluid, drugs, and the body’s DNA/RNA and it produces much less CO2 than a cremation. Titanium medical implants can be recovered intact and perfectly usable in Third World countries by organizations such as Doctors Without Borders. While not yet widely used as of 2010, the Mayo Clinic has successfully used the Water Resolution® process since 2007 to dispose of bodies donated for scientific research.