Alkaline hydrolysis, water cremation, Aquamation, and Resomation are all words describing the same thing; a new form of disposition available to families as an alternative to burial or flame cremation.
Over the last 12 months, Parting Stone worked with a few wonderful funeral homes who offer alkaline hydrolysis to develop our process for this type of remains. We are excited to share that Parting Stone is now officially offering solidification of remains from the alkaline hydrolysis process to all of our partner funeral homes and direct families.
Emily Nelson is the owner of Be A Tree Cremation, an alkaline hydrolysis provider in Denver, CO. She has this to say about her experience offering solidified remains:
“Parting Stone provides an opportunity to creatively memorialize loved ones and integrate new rituals into loss. People will leave the stones in special places in nature all over the world or give them to friends and family. They are a cherished, tangible piece of their loved one that is a complete departure from standard "ashes." We are incredibly grateful that alkaline hydrolysis providers now have this beautiful option."
We also partnered with Chamisa Aquamation for Pets, and received this beautiful letter from one of their pet families:
Alkaline hydrolysis, or “hydrolysis,” isn’t actually very new, the science started back in 1888 and was initially used in farming to dispose of animals and create a rich fertilizer. The first use of this technology for humans was in 1995 at a medical facility for disposition of bodies donated to science. Then in 2007 the first pet facility opened offering this option to pet families, and in 2011 the first facility for humans at a funeral home opened. Hydrolysis for humans in the funeral space is legal in 28 states currently, 4 Canadian provinces, Mexico, and other countries. Hydrolysis for pets is legal in every U.S. State, and many states also use this process in scientific facilities after body donation.
Hydrolysis is a more eco-friendly and gentler disposition option for families to choose, and still allows the families to receive remains after the process. With hydrolysis, the body is gradually broken down into its basic building blocks using heated water, gentle water flow, and a low percentage of alkaline chemicals. This process actually mimics natural decomposition. At the end of the process, the family can receive either hydrolyzed remains that are similar to “ash” but finer in texture and whiter in color, or solidified remains through Parting Stone. Hydrolysis uses far less energy than a flame cremation, and is considered more eco-friendly than flame cremation or burial as it emits no carbon and doesn’t put plastics and metals in the ground.
You may be asking yourself, “is this like what I saw in Breaking Bad?” The answer is, no. Hydrolysis uses a very small amount of chemical to water, and it is a base not an acid. In fact, alkaline chemicals are naturally occurring and found in many common items, like in beauty products and alkaline water. Glad we cleared that up!
By now you may have done an internet search to see if alkaline hydrolysis is offered in your state. Good news, even if it is not, you can make arrangements to have your loved one (or yourself if you’re preplanning, and good for you if you are) transferred to a facility out-of-state that offers it! Ask your local funeral home for more information, and if they don’t know, ask another one.
To learn more about the eco-impact of alkaline hydrolysis, read this Death Curious study.
If you would like to place an order for remains of an alkaline hydrolysis nature, simply place your order as normal and add “alkaline hydrolysis” in the notes. You can start the process here or contact email@example.com with questions.
This article was written by Stephanie Poirier, Partner Success Manager at Parting Stone. The cover image for this post is the alkaline hydrolysis vessel at Be a Tree Cremation in Denver, CO, courtesy of Emily Nelson.