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What is Resomation?

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

resomation or water cremation

Have you heard of Resomation?? Resomation is also known as Alkaline

Hydrolysis, Bio-Cremation, Water Cremation and Aquamation. It’s an eco-friendly, green, sustainable alternative to Flame Cremation and Burial. If your interested in limiting their ecological footprint and leaving this earth the greenist way possible, chose Resomation. Below I’ll answer some questions about Resomation and remove some of the mystery around this growing alternative to traditional cremation and burial.

Why Is It Called “Water Cremation?”

Water Cremation uses 95% water and 5 % alkaline (not acid) to speed up the decomposition process. There is no fire involved!! Just like traditional Flame Cremation with fire, you’ll receive an Urn containing the calcium phosphate (bones) of your loved one after the Resomation process. With Flame Cremation the bones are refered to as Ash, with Resomation we refer to them as Hydrolisized Remains. These are exactly the same thing, the calcium phosphate (bones) that have been reduced and placed into an urn of your choice.

Does Resomation Use Acid?

No, the process doesn’t use acid at all. Again, Resomation is formally known as alkaline hydrolysis. If we go back to the basics, we remember that alkaline is on the other end of the pH scale at a level of 14.

dead body to process resomation

How Does Alkaline Hydrolysis Actually Work?

The idea behind Resomation is to replicate the natural breakdown process that would take place in the ground by soil bacteria. The body is placed in a stainless steel cylindrical vessel along with 95% water and 5% alkali. This mixture is heated (not boiled) and washed over the body. The water breaks down the molecules and what’s left are the inorganic materials- the calcium phosphate of the bones. The bones are then removed and reduced down to a white powder and returned to the families in an Urn.

Is Resomation New?

No. The process was originally patented in 1888. In 2005, one of the first systems for humans was installed in the Mayo Clinic where it is still used today.

What Items Are Permitted in the Resomation Chamber?

family ashes in urn after resomation

Unlike flame cremation, there is no coffin used in Water Cremation. You can wrap your loved one in a shroud or chooe a recycled cardboard coffin. Also unlike flame cremation, medical devices do not need to be removed before the process. Any implants can remain with your loved one and will be separated from the bones at the end of the process. These items such as metal, pacemakers, implants are all recycled.

Why Would I Choose Resomation?

Resomation is the most environmentally friendly end-of-life option. In fact, Resomation has 1/10 the carbon footprint and uses 90% less energy than Flame Cremation. With alkaline hydrolysis, there are far fewer air emissions and the emissions that exist are non-mercury based, making it an even safer choice.

after resomation process

OK, so are Resomation, Aquamation, Alkaline Hydrolysis, Water Cremation and Bio Cremation all the same thing?

Yes. These are just different terms to describe the same thing. Individual providers may have proprietary or “brand” names too.

Is Resomation just a fad?

While Resomation isn’t a common household term yet, don’t dismiss it. Fire cremation was itself originally questioned and unwelcomed. Today, however, more than half of all Americans and 80% of the UK choose it over burial. Resomation is a real option for those who envision a green funeral.

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