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What is the funeral process of aquamation?

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

The funeral process of aquamation is an alternative method of treating human remains that utilizes circulating warm water and alkaline substances (such as sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate) to accelerate the natural decomposition of body tissues. This flameless cremation technique, known as alkaline hydrolysis, is also referred to as "aquatic cremation" or "bio-cremation".


This innovative process is considered more environmentally friendly than traditional cremation, as it generates fewer greenhouse gases and fine particles, emitting only 1 kilogram of CO2 compared to 160 kilograms. It's also a more eco-conscious option than traditional burial, where embalmers use formaldehyde to replace bodily fluids. As the body decomposes, it can release these substances, which may permeate the coffin and negatively impact groundwater.


The remains after aquamation are generally larger in volume than the ashes obtained from traditional cremation. This is due to the fact that cremation burns body tissues at high temperatures, significantly reducing the volume of remains. Aquamation, on the other hand, uses hot water and alkaline substances to accelerate the decomposition of body tissues, leaving a greater volume of organic bone material, approximately 100% compared to 80% after flame-based cremation.


Similar to traditional cremation, at the end of this process, only the skeleton remains, which is then reduced to dust and returned to the family or loved ones, who can keep them in a funeral urn.


To learn more about this service offered in Quebec, you can find additional information on these websites.


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