When it comes to funerals most of us tend to think our journey out of this world will either be a cremation (about 78% for the UK) or burial (the remainder).
This will continue to be the case for many years to come.
With cremation, the deceased person inside their coffin is placed into a hot furnace, in a process which takes around 90 minutes.
Once finished, the remains are collected up and carefully placed into an urn before being handed to the family.
Burial at a cemetery is as you’d expect. The coffin containing the deceased person is buried at a depth of around 6ft.
Burial at a natural burial ground is around half that depth, as the aim is for the remains to decompose and become part of a fertile soil layer.
As a result, many natural burial grounds won’t permit MDF or chipboard coffins with plastic handles for fear of contaminating the earth.
Beyond these established methods, entrepreneurs and innovators around the world are looking at alternative ways of disposing of the dead.
And they’re fascinating.
Resomation is perhaps the obvious example. This involves gently dissolving a deceased person in a hot water-alkaline solution and results in similar powdery remains that are left behind following a cremation.
This is yet to take hold in the UK due to questions over how to dispose of the wastewater, which we understand is free of human DNA and uncontaminated in any way.
Some states in the US, along with Canada, Mexico and Australia already permit resomation, so it’s quite possible that it will become available here one day.
Another method, which caught our attention recently, is being offered by US company Recompose.
Human composting may not be for everyone but it’s interesting to see a focus on potentially beneficial relationships between the soil, atmosphere and our bodies after death.
In our experience, people seek comfort in diverse ways so we can imagine how some families might embrace this approach.
For instance, if the deceased was a keen gardener, relatives could find great meaning in knowing that their loved one was quite literally the driving force behind a flourishing flowerbed or a symbolic tree.
You can read more about Recompose here.
Whilst it might be some time before human composting or resomation become a thing in the UK, we’re certain that new ways of sensitively disposing of loved ones no longer with us will eventually take hold as society evolves.