Number 28 of our 100 Ways To Save The Planet is to have a green funeral, mentioning Arka Original Funerals and Ecopod. However there is an even more extreme measure you can go to – freeze-dried burials.
Critics say that unless sufficient safeguards are in place for eco-burials, the human remains inside those coffins can pose a hazard since they may contain toxic metals and other substances that can seep into groundwater.
Which is why various companies are promoting high-tech methods that allow cadavers to decompose while avoiding potential environmental hazards. Some of the techniques may seem strange, but they eliminate the messy embalming fluids, concrete crypts and metallic caskets used in traditional burials. Promessa Organic are a Swedish company whose technology begins by freezing a body to -18C. A bath in liquid nitrogen cools the corpse even further, making it brittle. Next, vibrations render it into powder, and later the water that makes up the largest part of human bodies is evaporated by means of a vacuum chamber. Finally, ground polluting metals – such as mercury from tooth fillings – are removed, and the now-purified powder is placed in a small, corn starch casket. Once buried, casket and remains fully decompose in 6–12 months.