Resomation: The Green Alternativeby L-Johnson
Resomation is an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation. It was developed in response to a growing desire for greater choice and increasing environmental awareness. The resomation process is similar to cremation, where it results in ash remains that are placed in a urn and returned to loved ones. The difference is that cremation burns the body with fire, but resomation uses a water and alkali based method known as alkaline hydrolysis to break the body down chemically. It is essentially an accelerated form of natural decomposition.
The process reduces emissions of greenhouse gases by about 35%, and the energy required is less than one-seventh of the amount needed for a cremation. During cremation, mercury is emitted into the air because of fillings in teeth; Resomation produces no mercury emissions. In the UK, 16% of mercury emissions are due to cremation of dental fillings.
When human tissues are built, elements get bound together by the removal of water molecules. Hydrolysis puts the water back in, and unzips the tissue molecules. The body placed in a silk bag and is immersed in an alkali solution of potash lye, which is heated to 350 degrees fahrenheit in a pressurized steel chamber. After two to three hours, the same length of time as an average cremation, only ashes remain (or more specifically, white calcium phosphate) and a sterile water that can be safely poured into the earth.