Have you ever heard of aquamation? You might be familiar with traditional burial or cremation, but aquamation is a relatively new option that’s gaining attention. It’s also known as water cremation or alkaline hydrolysis, and it’s an eco-friendly alternative to traditional methods.

In a world where we’re increasingly conscious of our environmental impact, it’s natural to consider how even our final decisions can align with our values.

Let’s dive into what aquamation actually involves. Imagine a gentle, water-based process that uses a combination of water, heat, and alkaline chemicals to break down the body. It’s a process that mirrors the natural decomposition that occurs in nature but speeds it up significantly.

You and I both know that the idea of an eco-friendly farewell can be comforting. This method reduces our carbon footprint and minimizes the use of harsh chemicals, making it a thoughtful choice for those who care about the planet.

Aquamation vs. Cremation (Water Cremation vs. Flame Cremation)

What Is Aquamation

You might wonder how aquamation compares to traditional cremation. Traditional cremation uses high heat to turn the body into ashes, which can release harmful emissions.

In contrast, aquamation uses water and an alkaline solution, resulting in a much lower environmental impact. The remains are then returned to the family as cremated ashes but without the associated environmental concerns.

Choosing aquamation can feel like an unfamiliar path, but it aligns with the growing trend towards sustainable living. We strive to make choices in life that reflect our values, and aquamation offers a way to extend those choices to our final moments. It’s about thinking ahead and finding peace in knowing that our last act can contribute positively to the earth.

In this blog, we’ll explore the details of how aquamation works, its benefits, and why it might be the right choice for you or your loved ones. Together, we’ll uncover the ways in which this innovative method honors both our loved ones and our planet.

Aquamation Process: Water Cremation in North Carolina

What Is Aquamation

Understanding the Aquamation Process

Imagine a process that respects both the deceased and the environment. That’s what aquamation offers. Instead of using fire, aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, uses water, heat, and alkaline chemicals to gently break down the body. You might have heard it called water cremation or flameless cremation. This method is gaining traction, especially in North Carolina, for its eco-friendly benefits and gentle approach.

How Aquamation Works

Aquamation starts with placing the body in a stainless steel vessel. This vessel fills with a water solution containing potassium hydroxide. The solution is heated, but the temperature remains lower than in traditional flame cremation. This lower temperature, combined with a gentle water flow, breaks down the organic materials into their smallest building blocks over a few hours.

During this process, the body is completely broken down into amino acids, peptides, and other organic materials, leaving behind bone fragments. Unlike flame cremation, there are no direct emissions of carbon dioxide or other harmful greenhouse gases. The remaining water, which is completely sterile, is safely discharged into the sewer system.

Comparing Aquamation to Traditional Methods

What Is Aquamation

You might wonder how aquamation compares to traditional cremation or burial. Traditional cremation uses intense heat and produces flame cremation ashes, along with significant carbon dioxide annually. On the other hand, aquamation is energy efficient, uses fewer fossil fuels, and results in aquamation ashes, a fine powder of inorganic remains, primarily calcium phosphate. These remains can be returned to the family, just like cremated remains from flame-based cremation.

Traditional burial involves the embalming process with chemicals and the use of caskets, which can take up natural resources and space. Aquamation, however, avoids the need for embalming fluids and chemicals, making it a greener option. Moreover, unlike traditional burial, it does not leave behind mercury remains intact, a concern often associated with flame-based cremation.

Legal and Cultural Considerations in North Carolina

Aquamation is legal in North Carolina, and its acceptance is growing. Many funeral homes now offer this service, providing an alternative for those looking for eco-friendly funeral services. Even the Catholic Church, known for its traditional views, has shown openness to this method, especially considering its environmental benefits.

Notably, public figures like Desmond Tutu have chosen aquamation for their final disposition, highlighting its growing acceptance and the shift towards more sustainable practices in the funeral industry.

Environmental and Personal Benefits

The environmental benefits of aquamation are significant. By choosing aquamation, we can reduce the use of fossil fuels, lower the emission of carbon dioxide, and minimize the release of harmful greenhouse gases. This process also helps in conserving natural resources and preventing the contamination that can occur with traditional methods.

For many, the decision to choose aquamation is also about personal values. If you and I care deeply about our planet, opting for aquamation can feel like a continuation of our commitment to environmental stewardship, even in our final moments. It provides a way to honor our loved ones while also caring for the world they cherished.

Summing Up

Aquamation offers a respectful, eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremation and burial. It aligns with modern values of sustainability and environmental consciousness. As we explore this option, we find that it provides a meaningful way to say goodbye, one that honors both the deceased and the planet. If you’re considering this path, we encourage you to talk to your local funeral home in North Carolina to learn more about how aquamation can fit into your memorial plans.

Renaissance Funeral Home Offers Eco-Friendly Services

What Is Aquamation

Commitment to Sustainability

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we know that sustainable options are important to you and your loved ones. Our commitment to providing eco-friendly funeral services reflects our dedication to honoring both people and the planet.

We offer several green alternatives to traditional burial to ensure a respectful and environmentally conscious farewell.

Aquamation: A Gentle and Eco-Friendly Alternative

What Is Aquamation

One of our most popular eco-friendly services is aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis. This process uses a water solution, instead of fire, to break down human remains. Through gentle heat and water flow, the body decomposes into its smallest building blocks, leaving only bone materials behind.

This method is energy efficient and uses a lower operating temperature compared to traditional flame cremation, producing significantly less carbon dioxide.

Green Burial: A Return to Nature

For those who prefer a more natural approach, our green burial services offer an alternative to traditional burial methods. Green burials forego embalming chemicals and instead use biodegradable caskets or shrouds. This method allows the body to decompose naturally, returning to the earth and supporting the ecosystem.

Our green burial options are designed to minimize environmental impact and align with the values of conservation and simplicity.

We have established relationships with Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. They offer green burial in Mordecai’s Meadow. We also work with Bluestem Conservation Cemetery, north of Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Flame Cremation: A More Sustainable Choice than Traditional Burial

Flame cremation is another option we provide that is more sustainable than traditional burial. Unlike burials that require embalming chemicals, caskets, and the use of significant land resources, flame cremation reduces these environmental impacts. The process involves placing the body in a cremation chamber where it is exposed to high heat, transforming it into ashes. This method uses fewer natural resources and does not require the ongoing maintenance of burial sites.

While flame cremation does produce carbon dioxide, the overall carbon footprint is often lower than that of traditional burial. This is due to the elimination of processes like embalming, which involves the use of harmful chemicals, and the reduced need for physical space. The resulting cremated remains can be returned to the family in an urn or scattered in a meaningful location, providing flexibility in how you choose to memorialize your loved one.

Legal and Practical Considerations

Aquamation is legal in North Carolina and has been gaining acceptance across the country. At Renaissance Funeral Home, we stay informed about all legal requirements and ensure that our practices meet state regulations. 

We also understand the importance of respecting individual characteristics and wishes, whether for human remains or pet remains. Our team is here to guide you through every step and answer any questions you may have about the process.

A Thoughtful Choice for the Future

When you choose eco-friendly services at Renaissance Funeral Home, you are making a thoughtful decision for the future. Whether through aquamation or green burial, you are contributing to a more sustainable world. We are here to support you in making the choice that best reflects your values and honors your loved ones.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about our eco-friendly options and how we can assist you in planning a meaningful and environmentally conscious funeral or memorial service.