Co-op Funeralcare has revealed it's offering a new type of burial practice in the UK.
An alternative to cremation or a traditional burial, resomation - a.k.a. water cremation or alkaline hydrolysis - is considered a potentially more environmentally-friendly and sustainable funeral practice.
On Sunday (2 July), the funeral director announced it would be introducing the new form of burial later this year to certain pilot locations across the UK, with the possibility of expanding further in the future.
Resomation 'speeds up the natural process associated with burial'.
The process is carried out by placing the body of the person who died into a chamber.
Co-op's website explains: "Pressurised water and a small amount of potassium hydroxide are added which speed up the natural process the body goes through at the end of life."
The whole process takes around four hours, according to Sky News.
Once resomation is complete, soft bones remain which are dried, turning into 'a white ash-like powder,' which can then be placed in an urn and given to loved ones of the deceased.
While 89 percent of UK adults who took part in a YouGov poll hadn't heard of the burial process - and only 29 percent saying they would choose it - it does have its benefits for the environment.
"It is believed that by using water in the process rather than flame, the environmental impact is reduced as the process releases no air emissions," Co-op explains.
Professor Douglas Davies from the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, said: "The reduced carbon footprint that may come with Resomation compared with other forms of body disposal, means it will no doubt be of interest to many people as the practice is increasingly made available in the UK."
While many of us in the UK may've not ever heard of it before, it's reportedly becoming 'increasingly popular in the USA, Canada and South Africa'.
Co-op also notes the practice could also be made available in Ireland this year.
Managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, Gill Stewart: "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."
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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Topics: UK News