Everything You Need to Know About Resomation 1

resomation

As a growing number of people become more aware of environmental issues and the impact our every action has on the natural world around us, greater emphasis is being placed on developing green alternatives for many of the processes which we take for granted. The funeral industry is no different, and there are a number of innovations currently being developed which aim to lessen the environmental impact of a funeral service. Resomation is a perfect example of this phenomenon and illustrates how new technologies are challenging long held traditions in order to reduce our environmental footprint and provide the public with options that limit harm to our planet.

Although the process of cremation, in one form or another, has been practiced for much of human history, resomation could soon prove an environmentally friendly response to many of the environmental concerns being expressed about the burial and cremation of our deceased. In order to give you a greater insight into how the process works and when it may become widely available, we’ve created this helpful guide to everything you need to know about resomation.

For more information on organising an eco-friendly funeral, read our dedicated article on the topic. There are plenty of environmentally friendly funeral directors whom we work with. Find them with just your postcode on this page.

resomation

The resomation process explained

Superficially, the resomation process is incredibly similar to modern cremation. In fact, up until the body is committed and passes from view, a resomation service would be no different from that of a normal cremation service. This means that many current crematoria will be able to install a stainless steel resomation tank alongside their existing cremation technology, meaning that they could become dual function in the future.

However, once the body is committed an entirely different process begins. The resomation tank, known as a resomator, is in fact a special type of pressure chamber that allows a body to be immersed in a special solution of potash lye and water – a process also known as alkaline hydrolysis. Gas powered steam generators than build the pressure inside the tank until the temperature rises to the required level and a chemical reaction takes place that separates the body into two distinct substances, usually over a period of three to four hours. These substances are an ash, consisting of calcium phosphate from the bones, and a bio-fluid that’s made up of salts, sugars, peptides and amino acids. While the fluid is drained off and disposed of, the ash can be collected and either kept in an urn or scattered, much like what happens currently following a cremation. This liquid is free of any genetic material.

The benefits of resomation

Resomation is considered better than modern cremation processes for a number of reasons, though its greatest benefit is a reduction in the amount of energy required to complete the process. Most research suggests that resomation consumes one third of the amount of energy that cremation does, while it also drastically lowers carbon and mercury emissions. Finally, it also provides a solution to many issues associated with burial, such as limitations on the amount of land available for burial sites and rising burial costs.

Legal status of resomation

As a new technology, the precise legal foundations surrounding the practice are yet to be fully defined and solidified. While at least eleven states in the USA have legalised the process and some provinces in Canada allow it, the majority of the UK is yet to legislate specifically on the matter. However, in Scotland, the Cremation and Burial Act 2016 has provided a clear platform for the introduction of resomation technology and it is worth noting that in England there seems to be no legal opposition to its implementation as long as it complies with all existing building and environmental regulations.

While it seems clear that resomation is a viable alternative to cremation, it remains to be seen whether it will be a popular one. Though trends in the funeral industry do suggest that people are prepared to depart from tradition and opt for more personalised funerals that reflect their own beliefs and preferences, it is not known how customers will react to the new technology.

Perhaps, as the issues facing traditional burial methods become more acute, we will see a shift towards more environmentally and space friendly methods like resomation, although only time will tell.

For more info on resomation and its legal status, check out this handy site.

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1 Comment

  1. LS, could you please inform how much pressure is being built up in the resomation tank. Thanks in advance.

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Child Burial and Cremation Fees to be Dropped in Scotland 0

Scotland burial cremation fees

The Scottish government has announced this week that all cremation and burial fees for children’s funerals will be abolished, a welcome move that will provide valuable relief for bereaved parents.

Following on from similar decisions in both England and Wales, the Scottish Government has pledged to provide £500,000 each year to cover the cost of all cremations and burials for children under the age of 18.

The average cost of a cremation in the UK is over £700 and the average burial is £1,792, a huge burden for families who are already struggling with the devastating loss of a child.

While campaigns against the fees had already led many Scottish local authorities drop them already for children under the age of 16, this move will provide welcome relief for those who would have otherwise been left out due to their location or the age of their child, ending a situation critics had called a “postcode lottery”.

In a statement, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance said:

“The death of a child is one of the most tragic experiences that anyone can go through.

“At such difficult times, it is important that we look to support parents and families. We have been actively looking for some time at ways in which we can further support bereaved parents in Scotland with funeral costs.

“Most local authorities do not charge child burial and cremation fees but the picture across Scotland is a mixed one, as local authorities introduce adult burial and cremation charges at different ages across the country.

“We agree with COSLA [the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities] that no family should have to pay to bury or cremate their child. I am therefore delighted to confirm this agreement between the Scottish Government and COSLA.”

Councillor Elena Whitham, COSLA spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said:

“Scottish local authorities have had a long-standing commitment to waiving or discounting their charges for children’s funerals and cremations.

“It is a truly awful to have to manage the burden of a funeral or cremation for a child. We are acutely aware that none of us plan for the financial costs because we don’t expect it to happen to our families. For some, any charges can lead to high cost borrowing and financial crisis.

“We are pleased to work together with the Scottish Government to ensure that all local authorities can fully commit to removing their charges for the burial or cremation of those aged under 18.”

Missouri Storm Chaser’s Ashes to be Released into a Tornado 0

Tornado

What would you say if you could write your own obituary? For a creative option, you can’t beat Jim “Mad Dog” Sellars’ self-penned goodbye, in which the adventurous former ice cream dipper, butcher, weatherman, telephone lineman, reserve policeman and veteran storm chaser from Missouri announced that his ashes would be released into a twister.

“My friends the ‘Outlaw Chasers’ will launch my cremains into a tornado at a later date”, Sellars wrote. “That’ll be fun!!!!”

The scattering will be a fitting tribute to a man who chased well over 100 tornadoes in his lifetime. Speaking to the Kansas City Star, Sellars’ older brother John described Jim as a dedicated and generous person who approached all his hobbies whole-heartedly. “If he knew (a tornado) was going to set up somewhere, in Oklahoma, or Alabama, he would load up with a couple of people and go chase.”

“If he found something that interested him, he jumped into it all the way up to his neck.”

Even when Sellars was confined to his bed due to illness, he continued to track tornadoes for the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN program, also sending out radio reports to help his fellow storm chasers.

“It was a tough time for him, but he spent every waking hour helping people all over the radio”, said John. Condolences on Sellars’ memorial page describe him as both “fun loving”, “generous” and a “big hearted guy who was very devoted to helping others”.

Jim’s self-written obituary tells the story of a busy life well lived, with memories of family, friends, and a range of careers:

“I remember the 1960 Winter Olympics we had in our snowy backyard, sitting with Dad watching the satellite Echo 1 flash through the night sky.

“I was honored as a Policeman to have met and protected … Presidents Reagan and Ford, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, George Carlin, Dolly Parton, Mac Davis, Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones, Elvis and many more.”

It also paints a portrait of a self-deprecating man with a strong sense of humour. “I had a few tryouts with the Reds, Phillies and Cardinals. … I was either too drunk or too hung over to do much good … But I had fun.”

Yet, as you might expect from a long time storm chaser, the weather seems to have been Sellar’s enduring passion. “I saw my first tornado in Sept 1975 and my last 30 years later … I liked all kinds of weather, rain, snow, sleet, hot, cold … I really didn’t care as long as I was here to see it.”

Despite the unusual nature of his brother’s last request, John has promised to launch the ashes into a tornado as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Jim Sellars is survived by his two children, a son and a daughter, and four grandchildren.

“I loved all my family, friends, caregivers, and the people that made my world turn.” Sellars said. “So, as we move forward on our path around the sun at 66,660 mph, let’s all pray, hope, or wish for peace and love for our world.

“Bye for now. … See ya on the other side.”


Do you have any unusual wishes for your own ashes? Make sure your family know what to do when the time comes by sharing your funeral wishes in your will with Beyond. It’s free, easy and takes just ten minutes. Start writing your free will here today.