5 eco-options for a green afterlife

There are now a myriad of ways you can dispose of your body once you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. Some creative, some functional, some quirky and some a TINY bit weird!

This week, we focus our attention on the eco-friendly options available. Cremation is of course considered less environmentally damaging than a burial – we aren’t eating up valuable UK land resources by filling them with dead people for one! In fact 80% of the UK population opt for a cremation every year, but that’s not to mean there are no ecological implications to consider here either. In fact a cremation requires the burning of natural gas, ergo creates pollution not to mention the vaporisation of all the other nasty bits and pieces that may be present in the body, fillings, new hips, veneers, breast implants…

There has however, been a mainstream rise in environmental caskets. Coffins made from cardboard, wicker or bamboo are popping up more regularly all of which reduce the need for rare tropical hard woods being felled and carted halfway around the world to be buried or burnt. A dreadful waste of a beautiful natural resource. So, on the whole it looks as though we are becoming more environmentally responsible YAY… Lets take a look at a few of the less ‘mainstream’ options for your eco-departure.

Live well, die old and leave an environmentally friendly corpse…

During our life times many of us try to live as ecologically as we possibly can, so of course we will want our departures to be as kind to the planet too. So, here are the Future Legal Services top 5 eco-options for a green afterlife.

1 – Corpse Composting

As the less than delightful name suggests this is NOT just leaving you in the woods to slowly become one with the earth, there is a science to it. Most simply put the body is buried in a shallow grave under wood chips or living soil where it slowly becomes a rich compost ready to nourish new growth.  There are a couple of organisations around the globe that do this, check out Urban Death Project and Promessa for a more scientific explanation…!

2 – Resomation

Urmmm what now? This is basically a process that uses water and alkali rather than high heat to quickly decompose a body. The body is wrapped in a silk coffin and then placed in a steel chamber along with potassium hydroxide at a pressure of 10 bar. The temperature is the set at 180 °C which, according to Sandy Sullivan founder of Resomation Ltd, is 80% cooler than a standard crematorium. Meaning it has carbon footprint 18 times smaller than a typical cremation. Win!

3 – Carbon Off-Set

You can of course opt for the a ‘traditional’ cremation but off set the carbon that it will produce… clever right? There are a few ways you can do this… use a crematorium that is working hard to be as efficient as possible, or works with carbon offset projects. Or, buy a small forest somewhere and off set it yourself!

4 – Coming soon… Liquid Nitrogen

This one ticks both the eco-friendly AND seriously blinking cool boxes! The corpse is frozen in liquid nitrogen and then shattered into dust, Terminator II style. The dust however weighs the same as the body so there are a few more processes that it needs to go through before being buried and turning into compost. Sadly this is not commercially available, it’s been talked about for over 15 years but the technology isn’t quite there… YET. However, the most recent writings about the process have said that it’s realistic to think that it would be possible…. watch this space!

5 – Donate your body to medical science

The ultimate act of recycling…! Obviously there are some very stringent rules surrounding donating your body to science, there could be potentially fatal pathogens lurking in each and everyone one of us. Plus, if your remains are going to be dissected by bright young medical students, the future of medical science, their safety is paramount, so communicable diseases, among other things, are a no no. Unsurprisingly it’s all strictly regulated by the Human Tissue Act.

Here at Future Legal Services we always advise our clients to not only think about their funeral preferences but to also make sure their wishes are documented in their wills. In fact with the average cost of a cremation now at £3,500 (for a burial add on the cost of the land too!) and rising year on year it’s definitely worth taking out a pre paid funeral plan. Call us on 01322 664885 to discuss your will and funeral plans with us today.




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