Alkaline Hydrolysis – The Future of “Green” Funerals?

In April 2016, Business Insider published an article titled, “Traditional Burials are Ruining the Planet.” More information has surfaced showing the environmental toll that is taken when someone is buried in a traditional casket featuring steel, wood and embalming fluid.

Cremation became a popular alternative to traditional burials. In fact, cremation rates have increased to nearly 75 percent in some states, according to the Cremation Association of North America. For those people interested in being even more environmentally-conscious are considering a procedure known as “alkaline hydrolysis.” Is it right for you? Can you even do it in the state you reside in? Find out below.

What Exactly is Alkaline Hydrolysis?

It is a process that has been around for over 100 years and involves dissolving the remains of a human in an alkaline solution. It involves a mixture of water and potassium salt. It is also referred to as biocremation, aquamation, or resomation.

Controversial Cremation?

The practice of Alkaline Hydrolysis has drawn criticism based on people interpreting the practice as somewhat “gruesome.” This is because the perception of Alkaline Hydrolysis is that a human body is dissolved in chemicals and poured down the drain. It has also raised public health concerns due to the alleged risk that the liquified remains could wind up in drinking water.

State Laws & Regulations

As of the date of this posting, only 13 states in the United States have legalized the practice of alkaline hydrolysis, including: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming.

As you can see, Alkaline Hydrolysis is not legal in Virginia or West Virginia. Though, Maryland residents can utilize this practice, if they so choose. Maryland legalized alkaline hydrolysis in 2010, when the state defined cremation as the “means the process of reducing human remains to bone fragments through intense heat and evaporation, including any mechanical or thermal process,” according to Maryland Business Regulation Code § 5-101.

Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney Today

To get more information about final arrangements, including the potential to make your funeral “green,” take the time to schedule a meeting with the legal team at InSight Law.