Ancient manuscripts teem with burial customs that we consider strange today, but space constraints and the need for eco-friendly burial options has pushed people to find new ways to honour their dead. The result is an interesting list of burial options you might want to consider in place of the normal burial customs for your loved one. Ask your funeral director about any of these options if you're looking for something different for your own or a loved one's burial arrangements:
Resomation, or bio-cremation, provides an alternative to conventional cremation. This is a process that involves the use of potassium hydroxide and heated water to liquefy a body, leaving the bones which will be pulverized as with conventional cremation and the resulting fragments given to the family. Resomation is still fairly new, but is ideal for a family looking to cremate their loved one without the environmental effect and energy consumption of flame cremation.
2. Natural burials
This is not very different from traditional burials, except that the family requests that the funeral home not embalm the body. Embalming uses some toxic chemicals that can seep into the ground and adversely affect the ecosystem around the burial grounds. In addition, natural burials do away with concrete vaults to line graves or steel caskets in modern cemeteries, so that both body and casket can decompose faster. Natural burials today are carried out in all-natural cemeteries, which also function as nature preserves that reduce impact of burial rites on the ecosystem after death.
3. Eternal Reefs
Eternal Reefs are an alternative to natural burials for those who'd like to be part of the marine life upon their passing. In this method, crushed bone fragments from either cremation or resomation are mixed with concrete and used to create an Eternal Reef. The reef is then placed with other reefs in the ocean to provide a habitat for fish, corals and other marine lifeforms.
Cryonics is a rather costly burial option, and it involves freezing a body to keep it intact in case future scientific advancements make it possible to revive human bodies. However, there are some barriers to cryonics, including prohibitive costs and toxicity from chemicals used to prevent freeze-damage to body cells.
5. Space Burial
Space enthusiasts can get their bone fragments after cremation or resomation flung into space. Some of the ashes are carried on a rocket bound for space, where they are allowed to experience zero-gravity before returning to earth. Alternatively, the remains can be taken around the earth where they will burn up in the atmosphere, but this costs more. Ardent space fans can have their remains taken to the moon or deep outer space, but this is extremely costly.