Want a Green Funeral? Liquefy Your Body with the ‘Resomator’!

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If the title of this post alone makes you queasy, you might want to minimize your browser and finish whatever you’re eating before proceeding. No really. It involves things someone might do to your corpse after you’re dead, namely liquefaction, a lovely word, whose synonyms include “liquidize,” “deliquesce” and my personal favorite, “melt.” Oh right, don’t use your imagination.

Okay then, all set? Here we go!

(MORE: Aquamation: A Greener Alternative to Cremation?)

So we’re talking about something called the “Resomator” by Resomation Ltd., a device that dissolves bodies in superheated alkaline water (water mixed with corrosive potassium hydroxide). Sounds a little like a contraption H.P. Lovecraft might’ve dreamed up, or that you’d find in a film by Stuart Gordon, though it looks like something you’d slide into for an MRI (or, speaking as someone who grew up in the dairy industry, churn butter in). It’s basically a human-sized metal vat—a body pressure cooker.

The liquefaction process takes about two-and-a-half hours, and the resultant product itself (or “effluent,” though “Zombie Juice” works, too) is claimed to be sterile and DNA-free, allowing it to be discharged into a city’s water system. Now remember, this is science here, and “sterile” presumably means sterile, but okay, the discharge would at some point conceivably come into contact with a municipal water treatment system, before…I’ll leave you to ponder that image.

The bones left over (yep, just the bones, in a chaotic tumble—warning, there’s a pic!) are then placed in something called the “Cremulator” (they’re certainly tabloid friendly, these folks) and ground to ash.

The upside? It’s greener than cremation, which—though more environmentally friendly than burial—still releases chemicals like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and both hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid into the atmosphere.

Me, I’m still (probably naively) considering something like cryonic storage, or as my wife joked around our marriage vows, “”til death or low temperature preservation do us part.”

[via BBC News]

MORE: Rest in Fleece: Woolen Coffins Offer Green Goodbye

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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