For years, the customary practice of disposing of dead bodies has been either burial or incineration. In Flameless Liquid Cremation, author Hal Peters explains why these traditional methods are economically and environmentally unsound.
Peters describes alkaline hydrolysis (the titular Flameless Liquid Cremation), a water-based method that the author explains is a more environmentally responsible, more efficient, and, in terms of the family and friends of the deceased, a more comforting method.
The author walks readers through the steps of this process: A body is placed into an airtight, watertight, chamber which is then filled with a mixture of water and alkaline that breaks the soft tissue down, leaving only bones. Once this is complete, the resulting liquid can be safely poured into the ocean (if the facility is near a coast) or even into a drainage system, which carries the sanitary fluid through processing until it reaches an ocean.
The bones aren’t discarded but pulverized, placed into an urn, and the family can purpose them in much the same way as traditional cremation remains are purposed.
Peters notes that the process has been used for deceased animals for over a century, and adds that Archbishop Desmond Tutu had chosen the alkaline hydrolysis method for when he died.
Is Flameless Liquid Cremation the funerary solution of the future? Readers can decide for themselves. However, as passionate as the author is about the subject, his stream-of-consciousness style and the book’s overall layout is awkward and eventually drifts off into a scrapbook-type journal filled with clip art, personal observations, and curated quotes. For example, he accompanies a photo of a woman meditating on a beach with his introspective musings that this tableau represents the eternal warmth he will experience once his own effluent remains are absorbed into the ocean.
Still, Peters provides a basic understanding of the subject, and as an introduction to an unfamiliar topic, this offering may interest some readers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.