Nobody likes dying. And now environmentalists are even making us feel bad about it!
As a body goes underground, we see a loved one being laid to rest. There are others, however, who see loads of toxic formaldehyde going into our beloved earth. Cremation apparently is not very eco-friendly either. So our concerned Swedish friends at Promessa have developed a method that is safe for the environment, but leaves your powdered corpse with little dignity. From their website:
The method behind ecological burial is crystal-clear, easy to grasp and accept. It is based on a new combination of tried-and-tested techniques that prepare the corpse for a natural process of decomposition. The procedure is justifiable in terms of ethical, moral, environmental and technical considerations, and does not subject the body to violent or destructive handling.
An important part of the solution is to remove that which is least important; the water that makes up 70 percent of a normal-sized body. Technically speaking, this is done using an entirely closed individual process in which the corpse is freeze-dried in liquid nitrogen.
Within a week and a half after death, the corpse is frozen to minus 18 degrees Celsius and then submerged in liquid nitrogen. This makes the body very brittle, and vibration of a specific amplitude transforms it into an organic powder that is then introduced into a vacuum chamber where the water is evaporated away.
The now dry powder then passes through a metal separator where any surgical spare parts and mercury are removed. In a similar way, the powder can be disinfected if required. The remains are now ready to be laid in a coffin made of corn starch. There is no hurry with the burial itself. The organic powder, which is hygienic and odorless, does not decompose when kept dry. The burial takes place in a shallow grave in living soil that turns the coffin and its contents into compost in about 6-12 months time. In conjunction with the burial and in accordance with the wishes of the deceased or next of kin, a bush or tree can be planted above the coffin. The compost formed can then be taken up by the plant, which can instill greater insight in and respect for the ecological cycle, of which every living thing is a part.
It appears a lot of thought has gone into this process, and it does appear to have some environmental value… But being freeze-dried, vibrated until I turn into a powder, and then filtered for toxic metals does not sound like I’m not subject to any “violent and destructive handling.” Furthermore, if water is 70% of your body, isn’t it the most important part? Without it one would resemble beef jerky more than a person. Finally, I’m a little confused about the corn starch coffin. Is something wrong with the styrofoam coffin I was planning on using?
Read more at the company website…
(Hat tip: discover.com)