South African funeral service introduces ‘aquamation’

Date:20 November 2019 Author: Leila Stein Tags:,

Standard cremation and burials have been identified as harmful to the environment. Cremation produces harmful smoke while burials take up space and often incorporate harmful chemicals during embalming.

While there have been other options promoted overseas including becoming a tree or donating your body to science, Avbob in Cape Town are now offering ‘Aquamation.’

Avbob explains that the process uses pressure, heat and water with a significant alkaline content. The solution is 95% water and 5% alkali (a combination of sodium and potassium hydroxide).

“Aquamation gently mimics the natural organic process that the body undergoes when it is finally laid to rest in the earth. Aquamation uses a combination of water flow, temperature, and alkalinity to hasten nature’s very own process,” they say on their website.

The body is placed in a stainless-steel chamber, the water solution is then used to speed up the natural decomposition process as the organic matter is broken down. The inorganic materials left over are pressed into a powder and returned to the family.

Avbob claims that the carbon footprint produced is only 1/10th of that of flame cremation. The amount of water for the process is equal to what is used by a single household in a day, including final rinsing of the remains and stainless steel chamber.

“The provision of a dignified send-off for loved ones is something that has been part of our service offering since we first got into the funeral business over a hundred years ago, and it shall remain one of our most fundamental business values for the future. Against this backdrop, it is important that we find and introduce safe, environmentally friendly, cost-effective and socially acceptable alternatives to burials and flame-based cremation,” Avbob CEO Frik Rademan told Business Insider. 

Image: Pixabay

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