The Flemish funeral sector is pressing for a legal framework to allow bio cremations – it means that an individual could, basically, be turned into liquid when he or she dies. The practice ensures that the human body is turned into a liquid and not into ashes as happens in conventional cremations.
In the United States bio cremations have been taking place for two years now, but in Belgium they remain illegal.
Recent research in the Netherlands shows that bio cremations are more environmentally-friendly than conventional cremations.
Bruno Quirijnen of the Flemish Funeral Council, said: “This looks like the perfect alternative for cremations. We should switch to bio cremations entirely. If it is true that the ecological footprint is smaller, then this seems like the logical choice.”
The funeral sector intends to raise the matter with Flemish Interior Minister Liesbeth Homans who is closely following developments abroad, including in the Netherlands where its parliament is looking at the possibility of opening the way for bio cremations.
Further reaction came from the US based company, Matthews, which offers “an environmentally focused end of life option” for families choosing cremation services.
A spokesman for Matthews,the global leader of “cremation green” technologies, said, “We live in a world that encourages us to protect and preserve our natural resources.
“We are developing lifestyle trends that encourage behavior to lower the individual’s carbon footprint while at the same time reducing greenhouse gases and stabilizing climate change.
“In addition to lifestyle changes, we must consider what happens at the end of life and that transition. Environmentally focused end of life practices are growing in popularity and whether it’s a greener burial or greener cremation, we are all called to play a supportive role within our families and communities.”
The spokesman explained how it all works.
“Cremation by definition is reducing the body to its basic elements of bone fragments through the use of heat. Bio cremation technology replaces the use of flame with the utilization of water, blended with an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide (KOH).
“The human body is placed into a pressurized stainless steel cremation chamber where water and alkali are automatically added and the temperature is raised to 350°F.
“Water, alkali, heat and pressure working in harmony are gently circulated over the body; causing a reaction that begins and completes the cremation process.”
By Martin Banks