• increase font size
  • Default font size
  • decrease font size

Loved ones to be dissolved and flushed down drain in new green 'burial' process

E-mail Print PDF

resomation-vesselA NEW technique to dispose of human bodies by dissolving corpses in a pressure vessel before pouring them away has been installed in a US funeral home.


The alkaline hydrolysis unit works by submerging the body in a solution of water and potassium hydroxide which is pressurised to 10 atmospheres and heated to 180C for between two-and-a-half and three hours.

Body tissue is dissolved and the liquid poured into the municipal water system.

The bones are then removed from the unit and processed in a "cremulator", the same machine that is used to crush bone fragments following cremation into ash.

Metals including mercury and artificial joints and implants are safely recovered.

The machine, built by Glasgow-based company Resomation Ltd has been installed at the Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St Petersburg, Florida.

It is hoped other units will follow in the US, Canada and Europe.

The makers claim the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal.

Sandy Sullivan, who founded the firm, said: “Resomation was developed in response to the public's increasing environmental concerns.

“It gives them that working third choice, which allows them to express those concerns in a very positive and I think personal way.”

Florida is one of only seven US states in which the process is legal.

An alkaline hydrolysis machine was used in Ohio earlier this year to dispose of 19 bodies until a state court shut it down, ruling that the process was not compliant with state law.

Read More Related Articles

Add comment

Security code

Social Bookmarking