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Eco-Friendly Options

Here at Threadgill’s Memorial Services, we offer gentle, eco-friendly alternatives to typical flame cremation.

 


 

Aqua Cremation

The scientific name for this water-based process is alkaline hydrolysis. It is the same process that occurs as part of nature’s course when a body is laid to rest in the soil. We use a combination of water flow, temperature, and alkalinity to accelerate nature’s process, and it is an entirely flameless process.

  • A flameless cremation process that uses water instead of fire.
  • A gentle and respectful process.
  • No emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses or mercury.
  • Over 90% energy savings when compared to flame-based cremation.
  • 1/10 the carbon footprint of flame-based cremation.
  • 20% more ash remains returned to the family.


Our Aqua Cremation process is an eco-friendly alternative to flame cremation and burial. It uses water instead of fire to return a body back to Mother Nature.

 

Why is this considered an environmentally friendly choice?

There are no direct emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses or mercury to the atmosphere. It is very energy efficient – greater than 90% energy savings compared to flame cremation, with 1/10th of the carbon footprint.

 

What is the impact of the water usage?

Virtually zero. The Aqua Cremation process uses less water than a single household uses in one day. This includes all of the water used for the process, along with the clean water rinses of the final remains and vessel.

 

Who supports it?

Trusted institutions have chosen this process for bodies donated to medical science for over 20 years. Most recently, the MAYO Clinic, UCLA Medical School, and UTSW Medical School have chosen this process for their willed body programs.

 

The Memorial Process

The traditional memorial ceremony and returning of the ashes remains unchanged. In fact, families receive more ash remains from this process, on average a 20% increase.

 

Families have expressed:

  • They are grateful to have a choice.
  • They prefer a process that does not use fire or flame.
  • They prefer receiving up to 20% more of their loved ones’ ashes returned to the family.
  • They believe this to be a more gentle option than flame-based cremation.
  • They value the decreased environmental impact of the process.

 

Frequently Asked Qustions

What actually happens?

What actually happens?

With alkaline hydrolysis, an individual body is gently placed in a container that is then placed in a clean, stainless steel vessel. A combination of water flow, temperature and alkalinity are used to accelerate the natural process of tissue hydrolysis.

At the end of the process, the body has been returned to its natural form, dissolved in the water (our bodies are approximately 65% water to begin with). The only solid remains are the mineral bone remains.

Is the body dissolved in acid?

Is the body dissolved in acid?

No, alkaline hydrolysis uses a catalyst called alkali, which is the chemical opposite of an acid.

Are the alkalis used in this process safe for the environment?

Are the alkalis used in this process safe for the environment?

Yes. The water-based process is 95% water and 5% alkali. A combination of alkalis (sodium and potassium hydroxide) are used in the process to dissolve the body. The alkalis used in this process are the same alkalis used in common cosmetic products, body washes, shaving creams, and even in food preparation. At the end of the process, the chemical has been completely used and no longer remains in the water solution.

What happens to the water?

What happens to the water?

The water is returned to the ecosystem via the normal wastewater treatment facility, just as all funeral homes in the United States do during the embalming process. The alkaline hydrolysis process produces a completely sterile solution of amino acids, sugars, nutrients, salts, and soap in a water solution. These are the byproducts of natural decomposition.

Are the powdered ashes safe to handle?

Are the powdered ashes safe to handle?

Yes, the remains are 100% safe, pathogen and disease free. The ash that is returned to the family is simply bone mineral, or calcium phosphate. The ashes will keep in an urn, or may be buried or scattered in a special place as some families choose to do.



Green Burials

 

What is green burial?

Green (or natural) burial emphasizes simplicity and environmental sustainability. The body is neither cremated nor prepared with chemicals such as embalming fluids. It is simply placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud and interred without a concrete burial vault. The grave site is allowed to return to nature. The goal is complete decomposition of the body and its natural return to the soil. Only then can a burial truly be “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” a phrase so often used when we bury our dead.

 

Why choose green burial?

Green burials are not new. Most burials before the mid-19th century were conducted this way, as are many Jewish and Muslim burials today. Green burials are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, for a number of reasons:

  • Simplicity. The idea of wrapping the body in a shroud or placing it in a plain, unadorned coffin appeals to those who prefer their burial arrangement to be simple, natural and unpretentious.
  • Lower cost. Because green burials do not involve embalming, fancy caskets, or concrete vaults, they can be a very cost-effective alternative to conventional burials, lowering the cost by thousands of dollars. If the family supplies their own shroud or coffin, the cost can be further reduced.
  • Conserving natural resources. Each year US cemeteries bury over 30 million board feet of hardwood and 90,000 tons of steel in caskets, 17,000 tons of steel and copper in vaults, and 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete in vaults. With green burial, fewer resources are used.
  • Eliminating hazardous chemicals. For some, forgoing the embalming process is the main attraction, since embalming fluid contains formaldehyde, a respiratory irritant and known carcinogen. In the US about 5.3 million gallons of embalming fluid are used every year, and funeral home workers are exposed to it routinely.
  • Preserving natural areas. Love of nature and a desire for “eternal rest” in a forever-wild meadow or forest are frequently-cited reasons for choosing green burial. The burial sites restore or preserve a natural landscape populated by native trees, shrubs and wildflowers; the sites offer food and refuge to birds and other wildlife. The most conservation-intensive green cemeteries do not use fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides. A green cemetery can be an important component in the acquisition and conservation of native habitats.

Threadgill’s Memorial Services, LLC
Phone: 503-526-3952
4815 SW Jamieson Road, Beaverton, OR


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