An increasing number of people are turning to cremation as an alternative to expensive burials, but concerns about its impact on the environment are becoming more prevalent. Alkaline hydrolysis uses far less fuel to produce a similar result as cremation. It is, at the moment, more expensive due to the cost of the pressurized chamber used for the flameless cremation, but it is predicted that as it becomes more widely accepted and available, the price will go down. Unfortunately, what is preventing alkaline hydrolysis from becoming more widely available is the “yuck factor”. The sterile liquid resulting from the process makes its way to the wastewater treatment facility.
From the Daily News in Indiana -
Both Thompson and Miller, the Indiana lawmakers, say they've heard from Catholic Church leaders who question whether treating liquid residue of human remains as wastewater respects the dignity of the deceased.
"Nobody likes to say they're flushing away human remains, but in reality that [sic] what's happening," said Curtis Rostad, head of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association.
But hold on, blood removed from dead bodies on embalming tables has been routinely flushed down the drain for over a century. This is nothing new. Liquefying a body might sound yucky, but burning a body is yucky too. So is burying it in the ground to decompose. So is piercing its organs, draining all its blood, and replacing it with embalming fluid. We shouldn’t let our squeamishness about death stand in the way of environmental progress. Thoughtfully choosing a method of body disposal in the interest of sparing the environment an unnecessary burden is perfectly respectful and dignified, as is choosing a disposition that won't financially burden your family.
Two separate bills introduced in Indiana might legalize alkaline hydrolysis in the state. It would be the 12th to do so. Read more here at The Greensburg Daily News.