Belgian Undertakers Want to Dissolve & Flush Dead Into Sewers

Photo: Corbis

A group of undertakers in Belgium are proposing a more ecological (but perhaps creepier) alternative to cremation: they hope to dissolve corpses in a caustic solution and flush the resulting liquid and ashes down the drain, which will be recycled at water treatment plants. They contend that the process - known as chemical hydrolysis or resomation - would use less energy than a crematorium and emit no carbon emissions. "The idea is for the deceased to be placed in a container with water and salts and then pressurised and after a little time, about two hours, mineral ash and liquid is left over," says a spokesman for the Flemish Association of Undertakers.

According to the Telegraph, the EU is considering the controversial proposal and if it gets approved, it would mean the procedure could be used across Europe.

Understandably, one survey found that many Belgians see the idea as "disturbing". The authorities are now studying whether the leftover liquids can be safely flushed into sewage systems.

Interesting enough, it's nothing new in the United States: Maine, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Maryland recently approved the same process. It would be interesting to compare hard data between this particular process and other more conventional but still environmentally-friendly options of that final earthly footprint - from a biodegradable casket to digging your own grave.

Thankfully, if even after this process you choose not to have your remains flushed in the end, your ashes can still be put into an urn - a comforting thought.

More on Green Funerals
How to Go Green: Funerals - How to Go Green
Where To Get Green Funeral Materials - How to Go Green
Georgia Eco-Cemetery Lets Your Family Dig Your Own Grave
Swedish Town Recycles Heat from Cremations
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