Posted by: thescoundrel | May 8, 2008

Flushing Granny Down the Stool

When I first graduated from high school I worked with a guy that was fairly eccentric and always making statements that I considered bizarre. One time the conversation managed to swing towards the idea of funerals and burial vs. cremation! A rather morbid and odd conversation for an eighteen year old and a twenty-nine year old, no doubt. He went on one of his unconventional rants about how he did not want to be buried and that he had made it clear to his wife that if he died, she was to just cremate him and scatter the ashes. He said she replied with, “scatter hell – I am just going to flush them down the toilet”. It was an amusing ending to what had been an otherwise unusual conversation for a couple of healthy young skirt-chasers. And though it was amusing at the time the future is now and the technology has created a potential similarity. In an an AP article by Norma Love, the author talks of a process used by two medical centers to dispose of cadavers that is gaining interest in the funeral industry to replace crematories. The process has been used for some years to dispose of animal bodies. The machine takes up less space than the standard crematory and uses heat combined with a lye solution in what acts like a pressure cooker to dissolve the body. When the process is over the leftovers are a powder similar to what is leftover after standard cremation and a sterile oily like substance that supposedly can be flushed down the drain and into the city sewage water treatment system. The process is called alkaline hydrolysis. A couple of states have legalized the process for funeral homes to use though the article stated none have opted to do so to this date, even though there is a growing interest. The problem for it is the process does have a stigma attached to it and one state bill to push it through legislature even earned the bill the nickname of “Hannibal Lecter’s Bill”.

I am not sure what to think about the technology and processes involved. I have to admit the process does sound kind of gruesome. But I have heard tales from someone formerly in the industry and a lot of the procedures that happen in a funeral home and crematory come out sounding gruesome. They are not for the squeamish. I am also not real keen on the idea of part of granny ending up in my city water. Still it is not uncommon for blood and other fluids to wind up in the city water system. Yet after reading the article and thinking about the possible evolutions from the technology, I have this urge to run down the street screaming in my best Charlton Heston voice –>Soylent Green is People!!!



  1. Interesting post. With an ever increasing population, urban sprawl, and more roads, we will have to look at alternatives to burial in the future. We are running out of land in a lot of places. My suggestion to bury people standing up went nowhere, so maybe this will be an option.

  2. I seem to remember, many moons ago, reading where some cemeteries were experimenting with the idea of burying people in a standing position. I am to mean to die, so I refuse to die. Though if I ever did I would want to be buried on Mars.

    I see the QC Times has posted the story now, here is their link in case the Yahoo link quits working.

  3. A while back, I vaguely remember a push to bury people stacked on top of each other, although I presume this would just be for members of the same family.

    Here’s a blog post from ’05 about a cemetery in Australia where you can do the right thing by the environment and be buried vertically.

  4. Yeah I remember that idea about stacking bodies. That is interesting about the vertical burying as it is not the first thing environmental burying idea I have seen come from the land of OZ. I was watching a show a long time back (do not remember the name) that originate from that region where entrepreneurs would pitch their ideas to this rich panel of individuals they called “Dragons”. One of the ideas they really liked was this idea to make colorful caskets that were made environmentally safe with recycled products. Not my cup of tea but I am sure that it appeals to some. It was just a couple of days ago I read where some guy had a casket labeled with his favorite beer logo. 😯

    I told my family that should my Nostradamus-like prediction of living forever fail me that they should not do anything too elaborate but something simple like the Egyptian Sphinx. 😀 Them did seem puzzled where they were going to find the funds necessary. 😦 I told them they could always follow Phearless Phil’s lead and secure a political position and hand out some government jobs to the family. If they managed to get a position like Phil’s they could even earmark the money in a piece of federal legislation.

  5. are there any benefits by ‘cremating’ with this method?? it sounds gruesome and not very dignified!

  6. It is supposed to cost a little more for the funeral parlor in setup. The advantages were it takes up less space, it will probably be more cost effective in the long run and it is supposed to be more environmentally safe.

    😯 Just remember Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!

  7. you can try alkaline-ionized water with no wastes and no electicity, just like natural processes

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