Going green has permeated almost every industry. That’s the way it should be, considering the state of the earth. One of the many industries affected is the death industry. Although that’s not something everyone likes to think about on a daily basis, there are perks to planning your death. However, the face of the field is changing rapidly, and many of the innovations will make the topic less taboo.
With advancements in green death tech, it’s possible to take action while you’re still alive. Traditional embalming and crematory practices wreak havoc on the ecosystem in a variety of ways. However, the United States is behind on bringing eco-friendly death practices to fruition. If strides are taken now to change how death is viewed in the U.S., positive effects can still occur.
Developed and headquartered in Italy, Promessa is a company focused on eco-friendly dying. Particularly, they have changed traditional cremation practices to incorporate cryogenic processes. You’ve probably heard of cryogenics in terms of freezing eggs or the like. However, this freezing process is done after death, and it makes the body able to be broken down easily.
Traditional cremation is less taxing on the ground than burials, but it releases toxins into the air during the process. It’s estimated that crematoriums release about 360 thousand metric tons of carbon dioxide each year in the United States. With promession, you can reduce your ecological footprint, even after death. Instead of a combustion process, promession is a process developed by a Swedish biologist that utilizes liquid nitrogen, resulting in six times less of a carbon footprint.
2. Biodegradable Urns and Caskets
If you opt for more traditional ashes or burial practices, there are still ways to make your death easier on the environment. Many companies have come out with biodegradable urns and caskets. One of the most notable is a mushroom casket that, quite literally, gives back to the earth. The casket, itself, nourishes the earth and the body then decomposes naturally.
There are also biodegradable urns and pods that house ashes or even bodies after death. These can be planted below a tree or flowering plant, letting you nourish the ground and, subsequently, that plant after death. Visiting beautiful foliage instead of a cold tombstone sounds nice, doesn’t it? It may be the future if we take action now.
3. Body Composting
Another eco-friendly death innovation hitting the markets is body composting. Scientists have found a way to let bodies decompose and turn into a sort of compost that can be used as soil for plants and such. In fact, a company called Recompose is making major headway in this arena. They have modern-looking “funeral homes” that are composed of octagonal tubes for the composting process. This is one step in the right direction toward the future of the death industry.
4. Water Cremation
Also known as aquamation, biocremation, resomation, or alkaline hydrolysis, water cremation breaks down bodies after death using (you guessed it) water. A metal chamber with an aqueous solution, and a flameless crematory process goes underway. It uses heat and pressure, much like traditional cremation, but there is no flame and, thus, less carbon footprint. In fact, it has about a tenth of the carbon footprint of the traditional method.
There are some setbacks to implementing this green technology into the death industry in the United States. While green burial forests are popping up in some places, they just aren’t modernized, accessible, and mainstream yet. Modern cemeteries are a lofty goal, but they will provide more aesthetically pleasing, eco-friendly spaces that you will actually want to visit.
Furthermore, due to religious reasons or simple legislature issues, alternative cremation and burial methods are not legal in every state yet. This is changing, however. The United States is moving in the right direction to implement green tech into the death industry, and you can take action during life.