Co-op Funeralcare announce plans to offer water cremations in the UK - what is it and how does it work?
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Co-op Funeralcare Has announced that it will introduce the water cremation practice, called resomation, later this year. The practice consists of the deceased being enclosed in a biodegradable pouch then placed in a container filled with pressurised water and a small amount of potassium hydroxide.
This process then rapidly converts tissue and cells into a watery solution, with one cycle taking approximately four hours to complete. Remaining bones will then be dried and reduced to a white powder, which can be returned to relatives in an urn.
Research suggests that water cremation is a more environmentally sustainable option as it does not release toxic gases, air pollutants or polluting fluids. Cremating a body leads to the release of carbon dioxide and potentially toxic gases while burials can lead to the risk of groundwater contamination.
Gill Stewart, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, the UK’s largest funeral provider, said: “Up until now choice has been limited to burial or cremation. We’ve seen from the rapid uptake of newer funeral options such as direct cremation that when choice in the funeral market is broadened, this is only a positive thing both for the bereaved and for those planning ahead for their own farewell.”
Co-op funeralcare added pilot locations to be announced later this year with the intention to expand the service to all Co-op clients. It also said it has updated the government on its plans to make the process available in the UK and that questions on new burial methods were raised at the Synod of the Church of England earlier this year.
The practice is growing in popularity in the US, Canada and South Africa. The introduction of the practice in the UK will mark the first time in more than 120 years that a new alternative to burial or cremation will be widely available, since the introduction of the Cremation Act in 1902.