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What is Resomation Water Cremation?


Water Cremation

A funeral involving water cremation (Resomation) is the same as one involving flame cremation until the point at which the body is committed from public view. Water cremation uses water-based solution to speed up the natural process the body goes through at the end of life.

The body is placed in a coffin or shroud made from biodegradable materials and then carefully positioned in a water chamber.

Instead of using fire, water cremation combines a water and alkali-based solution and this gentle method speeds up the natural process the body goes through at the end of life.

The process is on average 3-4 hours long and once complete the pure white bone ash that remains is returned to the family in an urn as happens with flame cremation.

So outside of a quieter and less environmentally damaging process than flame cremation the public will see no real difference to the funeral service process or the returning of ash.

The actual term Resomation was thoughtfully chosen using “Resoma” which is a Greek/Latin derivation for “rebirth of the human body” ie resolving the body back to the basic organic components and its rapid and beneficial return to our eco-system to be re-used as nature had designed. Our bodies only borrow those finite organic/inorganic building blocks during our life and we need to eventually return them. This happens with water cremation as with natural burial.

The key differences are in reducing the ever increasing negative impact on our fragile environment…

Why Choose a Water Cremation?

RELIGION Choosing water cremation over flame cremation and burial comes down to each individual and in some cases driven by tradition or religious beliefs.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF RESOMATION/ WATER CREMATION Water cremation has been independently shown to have the lowest and indeed little environmental impact at all compared to burial and flame cremation and that may be enough to allow the individual to choose it. This is especially true for those of you who have lived your lives with a very acute environmental awareness and concern for our planet and have consistently recycled and made green choices that have the least impact on the environment.. Water cremation certainly allows you with your end of life funeral choice to express that concern in a very positive manner.

CHOICE For others it is simply the inner fear during life of fire or burial inexplicably translated to an end of life situation that makes choosing water cremation seem a gentler option and the right feeling choice for them. You will also be making an environmentally positive decision.

Flame cremation faces environmental challenges including the harmful airborne particle emissions, harmful mercury release from dental amalgam and a high energy consumption that leads inevitably to a large carbon footprint adding to the greenhouse gas effect and climate change.

GLOBAL GROWTH OF RESOMATION / WATER CREMATION Real enthusiasm is evident for Resomation across the globe. There is a growing curiosity from those in the industry and growing interest from families. Resomation is offered most widely in the United States with over 6000 dispositions now completed.

Water cremation is already proving a popular choice for people overseas and is legally approved in 27 US states including Hawaii.

According to NFDA’s 2022 cremation and burial report, 60.5% would be interested in exploring “green” funeral options because of their potential environmental benefits, cost savings or for some other reason, up from 55.7% in 2021.

In England , plans to introduce water cremation in partnership with Kindly Earth are progressing so the British public will soon be able to choose water cremation as their end of life choice. In Europe, the buzz for Resomation is being well and truly felt. At recent events across Europe, attendees were “overwhelmed and enthusiastic” at the prospect of this sustainable end of life option being offered in their country.

NATURAL At the end of life, your body goes through a natural process. Water cremation enables the exact same natural process to take place. However, with water cremation the natural process is much faster and instead of taking months and sometimes years, this happens in a matter of hours.

Saving Our Environment

Independent environmental analysis (Sustain) has shown that the substitution of water cremation for flame cremation as part of a funeral will reduce that funeral’s emissions of greenhouse gases by approximately 35%.

An Independent Study in Holland by TNO demonstrated that water cremation had the lowest overall impact on the environment of all end of life options of body disposal including flame cremation, burial and freeze drying.

The energy needed for the average Resomation process in the form of electricity and gas is less than one fifth of the energy required for a typical flame cremation.

With flame cremation, significant levels of highly toxic mercury from dental amalgam is emitted from non-abated crematoria into the environment. Getting into our natural water it is converted to methylmercury which is absorbed by plant-life, eaten by small fish which are eaten by larger fish and then we eat the fish. Mercury in the body is cumulative and very harmful.

Water cremation produces no airborne emissions and the solid leftover mercury-containing amalgam is collected and safely recycled.

There are now over 7 billion human beings living on our planet and this number is increasing fast. The introduction of this third choice at the end of life has the potential to ease the pressure of burial space which in many countries is in short supply.

Is Resomation/ Water Cremation Available in the UK and What does it cost?

At the time of writing this blog, (October 2023) there is still more work and discussion going on around Resomation. We don't know the cost at the moment or the locations where this will be made available.

More information will be available in the near future

If you would like more information on Resomation, please click here to go to the website.

If you would like any more information regarding a natural burial, please contact Vines Funerals and we will be happy to help you.

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