Even in death, you have one final way to go green. The flameless cremation uses an alkaline solution of potash, salt, and water to quickly dissolve human bodies in a pressurized vessel—doing the work of 15 to 20 years in the ground in less than two hours, the CBC reports in a story about an Ontario, Canada, firm that recently got the go-ahead to use the method, which came from the US several years ago. Flameless-cremation boosters point to the fact that standard cremations use up fuel, take up to four hours, and spew some 550 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. Once the chemical solution has done its job, per the CBC, the "leftover coffee-colored effluents" are just flushed into the sewer system.
The utilities superintendent in Smith Falls, Ontario, where Aquagreen Dispositions is operating, says that's "nothing to be concerned about." However, he's taking a wait-and-see approach: "It could be a problem. I don't know how many bodies they'd have to do in a day for that to be a problem." Dale Hilton, who owns the business, says he's performed some 200 flameless cremations. The remaining bones are ground up and given to the deceased's family. "I think this is the way of the future," he says. In 2011, the Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home in St. Petersburg, Fla., became the first funeral home in the US to offer flameless cremation, the Tampa Bay Times reports. "It's not going to be a process for everyone—just like flame cremation," proprietor John T. McQueen said at the time. "I can give you a long list of people who will say, 'Hey, I don't want to be burned up.'" (A lot of people opt for traditional cremation in these states.)