A funeral home in Ontario, Canada has begun liquefying corpses and pouring them into sewers. Before you freak out, it's all legal. The funeral home, called Aquagreen Dispositions, had already obtained a license to "flamelessly cremate" dead pets in this manner, and now has recently been granted a licence to chemically liquefy human bodies as well - a method more energy efficient than cremation.
In light of this less-than-palatable news, here are six quirky yet eco-friendly ways to send off a dead person - starting with more on this chemical liquefying method.
1. Liquefy yourself
Called alkaline hydrolysis, this process involves submerging the bodies in an alkaline solution to speed up the body's decomposition process. It takes three to four hours to complete, and the resultant murky brown liquid can then be disposed of, or preserved as per the bereaved's wishes. Canada's Aquagreen Dispositions chooses to pour their liquefied corpses into the sewer, but you may choose something more idyllic, like the ocean perhaps.
2. Turn your loved one into a vinyl record
Live beyond the groove with the help of UK-based And Vinyly - the company offers to press your loved one's ashes (though note that cremation isn't very energy efficient) into a vinyl record complete with songs to play for you to remember them by. A 30-disk package costs about AUD$3,900, which is much cheaper than most funerals, costing tens of thousands. The idea came to the founder and music producer Jason Leach after he heard of an American who had his ashes mixed into gunpowder for fireworks.
3. Morph into a beautiful tree
Organic body pods allow your decomposing body to feed a germinating seed that will eventually grow into a big, beautiful tree. In this method, designed by Capsula Mundi in Italy, the dead body is placed in a fetal position within a large biodegradable pod, which is then buried beneath a seed for a tree. As the pod decomposes, it will fertilise the soil around the seed, providing food for the growing tree. You can choose to become one of several trees, including olive, birch, cherry, eucalyptus, and oak.
4. Let the animals eat you
This might seem like a rather graphic way to go, but sky burials - where dead bodies are placed on a mountain top to be eaten by scavenging animals or to decompose naturally - are common in parts of China, Tibet, Nepal, and parts of Northern India. This custom is followed by Vajrayana Buddhism, a religion followed in those parts, whose adherents believe the body has no use after death, so might as well be used for animal food.
5. Join the coral reef
Again, ashes aren't the most energy efficient method to dispose of bodies, but if you do go that route, why not convert your ashes into a piece of coral? Eternal Reefs is a company that creates artificial coral reefs or "reef balls" out of ashes, in order to support marine life affected by the destruction of coral reefs.
6. Or simply ditch the coffin and go for a burlap bag instead
I guess if it all gets too much for you, you could just swap a coffin (which can take decades to decompose) for a biodegradable burlap burial bag instead. It mightn't be all that fashionable, but the environment will thank you in the afterlife.