What is Alkaline Hydrolysis?

Alkaline hydrolysis is another form of cremation that doesn’t involve flames. Also called water cremation, alkaline hydrolysis is offered as a choice in Canada and some regions of the US. It is a new form of body disposition that has been popular in recent times. So, what is alkaline hydrolysis? Read on to find out more fascinating things about it.

Alkaline hydrolysis process:

The overall process of alkaline hydrolysis includes water, potassium hydroxide, low heat, and reduced pressure. Potassium hydroxide is a common ingredient found in liquid soap. Also, it has a low heat of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 177 degrees Celsius. All these things work together to turn your loved one into bone fragments and an inert liquid.

However, the process works great on protein-based materials. Hence, the body needs to be dressed in certain types of clothing such as wool, leather, or silk. The deceased body is placed within a stainless-steel chamber where the alkaline hydrolysis process will take place. It takes around two to three hours for the whole process to complete.

This is the time needed for an average cremation to complete as well. After the alkaline hydrolysis process is completed, the bone fragments are carefully rinsed and pulverized to ashes. The same process occurs when the bone fragments remain after cremation. Learn more about the traditional cremation process here.

The dust is returned to the surviving members of the deceased person in an urn. Later, they can place it in a cremation spot, bury it, scatter it in a special place, or other options. The other byproduct of the process is the inert liquid that doesn’t contain generic material or human DNA.

After several procedures involving filtration and purification at the water facility, the fluid is sent into the earth’s natural water cycle. Besides, this process of cremation is called BioCremation and Resomation. Also, it is referred to by general terms such as green cremation, aquamation, chemical cremation, and flameless cremation.

Alkaline hydrolysis cost:

The overall process and cost of services included in the alkaline hydrolysis process vary by area and service provider. Alkaline hydrolysis is a bit expensive compared to fire cremation. However, the cost is cheaper when it comes to burial. In general, the average cost of alkaline hydrolysis is not more than $3000.

Whereas the average cost for cremation is anywhere around $1500 and the average cost of conventional burial is around $9000. Besides, the cost of alkaline hydrolysis depends on the location, demand, and availability of a place. Moreover, the cost is slightly higher compared to flame-based cremation.

However, it is less than a traditional burial and you can avail of the services anywhere between $900 and $2500. There is no denying that alkaline hydrolysis is considered a budget-friendly option. Apart from that, some providers may even offer a combination of this method along with other traditional forms of cremation.

These might include viewing before the cremation, ash burial or ash scattering, and other kinds of funeral services. As such, these extras will add up alongside the original cost. If you are looking for a memorial service after the cremation, you can do that as well. Depending on the type of service, you can arrange for a budget-friendly event.

So, it is wise to consult with the concerned authority and discuss the budget before committing to any kind of add-ons apart from the cost of alkaline hydrolysis. Whatever you choose, you are saving thousands when you compare other forms of burial with alkaline hydrolysis.

In what states is alkaline hydrolysis legal?

As of now, alkaline hydrolysis is legalized in about 21 states. Moreover, other states are working on legislation and procedures to make it legal. This process of cremation is legal in Colorado, California, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Maine, Kansas, Illinois, Nevada, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas, Oregon, North Carolina, Vermont, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington.

Furthermore, Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have legalized the process. Besides, Northwest Territories and British Colombia are on the verge of making it legalized. While you may request alkaline hydrolysis in the states mentioned, certain areas don’t have providers to carry out the job.

Alkaline hydrolysis environmental benefits:

Compared to cremation or burial, which are the two forms of body disposition that have been popular worldwide, alkaline hydrolysis offers many benefits when it comes to the environment. The process utilizes less energy than cremation, which depends on propane or natural gas to reduce a human body to ashes using combustion.

Although the emissions resulting from cremation are less when you compare them with different types of energy-creation and manufacturing processes, cremating a body has other disadvantages as well. The process emits carbon dioxide that contributes to greenhouse gasses.

Many people have undergone dental fillings. Those fillings in their teeth contain mercury, which was a common material used by dentists to fill cavities. The high temperatures from cremation, estimated at around 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit or 760 to 982 degrees Celsius, tend to vaporize the fillings. As such, it releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

On the other hand, the lower temperature of alkaline hydrolysis results in fewer harmful emissions because the solution can’t vaporize the mercury from the dental fillings. Instead, the fillings remain in solid form during the process and get separated from bone fragments before they are rinsed.

Lastly, the remains from the alkaline hydrolysis process unlike ground burial, reduce the ever-increasing demand for land space significantly. Even if the family of the deceased wants to bury the remains, they would need a small space that will be quite less compared to a casket.

What states offer alkaline hydrolysis?

Although alkaline hydrolysis is legalized in about 21 states across America, the number is constantly changing because the prevalent law is either being changed or even repealed in some regions. However, it is expected that more and more states will pass legislation.

The states that offer alkaline hydrolysis are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Because the process of alkaline hydrolysis is a touchy subject, there are certain factors contributing to the fact that it is still not in practice even though the laws aren’t against it.

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Readinform is a Wisconsin based writer for funerals explained. They have come to understand the struggles of death and loss. Through life experience they have gathered the knowledge to help others and answer questions related to the funeral industry. When not writing readyinform focuses on learning new things and exploring the differences society offers.

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