Aquamation: The Green Alternative To Cremation



Whether you choose burial or cremation, in the end, the body breaks down to its basic element of bone ash. There’s a third alternative that not many people know about: Aquamation. The difference between burial, cremation and aquamation is the time the process takes and how the transition occurs. With burial, soil and microorganisms are the catalysts and can take as long as 25 years to reduce the body to bone. Cremation does so very quickly through the application of fire. The aquamation solution is 95% water blended with an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide and sodium. The body is placed in a stainless steel chamber where water and alkali are added and the temperature is raised. As the circulation of hot water (never boiling) and alkali work together, the earthly body is returned to its natural element of water, leaving the skeletal remains behind. This process is most often chosen by environmentally conscious families because there’s no emissions or vaporized mercury, and no filtration system is required. Mercury from dental amalgams is retained and recycled. When the process is complete, the ash is returned to the family in an urn. While cremation costs approximately $3,500, aquamation starts at $1,995.