Think about it: No more graves. No more furnaces. Instead, a chemical bath that dissolves protein, blood, and fat, leaving only a coffee-colored liquid, powdery bone, and any metal implants (e.g., dental fillings).
Actually, liquefaction isn't new. It's old, with process originally patented in 1888 for animals. But, since the 1990s, it's been used to dispose of human cadavers. And, for the past decade, liquefaction has grown in popularity with liquefaction machines being used for the general public.
Here's what the machine looks like:
- An alkali or salt derived from an alkaline earth metal (usually sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide or a combination of the two), is combined with water in a specially made machine.
- Since ~65% the human body is water and another ~20% is protein--including blood, muscle and collagen, which is found in tissue and bone--the alkali breaks down the body’s proteins and fats.
- The machine produces a sterile brown effluent that's comprised of minerals, salts, amino acids, soap, and water, as well as weakened bones that can be crushed into an ash, and any metal in the body.
Younger funeral directors are enamored with liquefaction, but touting its benefits are those who worship at the altar of environmentalism. They cite its benefits:
- lower cost (~$1.8k v. ~$3k for cremation);
- greater comfort to the bereaved;
- an extremely low carbon footprint (~1/10th of that caused by cremation);
- consumes only a tiny fraction of the energy of a standard cremator;
- releases no fumes into the atmosphere; and,
- no land is required.
There are some drawbacks:
- Although liquefaction appears to be more gentle than cremation, it isn't. The corpse doesn't just "dissolve away." No, it's chemically burned, reminding people of "Soylent Green."
- There also the possibility of the effluent being released into the sewer.
- Or even worse...
The Motley Monk can envision the billboard advertisement:
Burial is dead! Sustain the planet!
Let the discussion begin...
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