A green alternative to burial

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The Independent Online

Legal in six US states, a Belgian undertaker is pushing for relatives of the recently deceased to be given the option of dissolving their loved ones.

Currently relatives of the deceased essentially only have two ways of disposing of their loved ones: body-burial or cremation. However for the eco-conscious, the disposal of the departed poses a dilemma. Both cremation and burial distribute contaminants into the natural atmosphere, particularly cremation which leads to the release of CO2.

However a new burial technique, currently legal in six US states, is being promoted by a group of Belgian scientists. The technique is known as resomation, and is pioneered as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burial methods.

Legal in Maryland, Minnesota, Maine, Colorado, Oregan and California, resomation involves placing the corpse in a pressurized container filled with water and alkaline, allowing the body to essentially dissolve and leaving nothing behind but white dust.

Undertaker Bruno Quirijnen is leading a group of North Belgium funeral directors into pressuring Belgium to adopt the method; commenting on American public radio site Marketplace on August 12, he told listeners he wishes to offer his clients a third, ecologically friendly solution after death. According to the UK company that developed the technique, Resomation Ltd, discussions between the company and ministers in the UK have already taken place, regarding the adoption of this technique in Britain.

The company was unable to give details regarding the cost of the process as prices are subject to variation.