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Aquamation vs Terramation

Aquamation vs Terramation, diving deeper into the differences of Alkaline Hydrolysis (Aquamation) and Human Composting (Terramation)

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Desmond Tutu

It should come as no surprise that Archbishop Tutu chose to do in death as he did in life; give back to the earth.

A theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist, Archbishop Tutu as a final act of service to earth chose to have a funeral shunning the current trend for excess and toxcicity by opting for a simple pine coffin followed by Aquamation or Alkaline Hydrolosis, a water-based process considered more eco-friendly than traditional flame cremation.


Aquamation vs Traditional Cremation

Alkaline Hydrolysis is advertised as being 90% more environmentally friendly than cremation. After the Aquamation process families receive back around 20% more remains than traditional cremation, and the remains generally are a much finer powder that is white in color, not grey like the results of flame cremation.

Aquamation, Water Cremation, or Alkaline Hydrolysis is a process often called the green alternative to flame cremation. It is a process that allows the body to be broken down in a sealed machine using water, alkaline chemicals, heat, and pressure to speed up the decomposition process.  At the end of the Alkaline Hydrolysis or Aquamation process, bone is removed from the machine, dried in an oven, and pulverized into an ash-like consistency.


But what if Archbishop Tutu had access to all green funeral alternatives?

At Return Home, we would like to believe that had Archbishop Tutu had knowledge of and access to Terramation, he would have considered making his last act on earth one that physically gives back and nourishes the land.

Here is what you should know about Aquamation vs Terramation (Alkaline Hydrolysis vs Human Composting/Natural Organic Reduction)

Terramation or natural organic reduction is the only true eco-friendly deathcare option. It allows the body to complete the cycle of life by gently transforming it into soil over a 60-day period.

Terramation uses minimal energy, and does not artificially   heat, pressure, or alter the body. The gentle process happens inside a sealed vessel system that simply allows oxygen and organic materials to aerobically transform the body to soil in just 30 days. For the remaining 30 days the compost must rest and cool before being returned home to the family. Because organic matter on the earth is steadily decreasing*, it is vital that as much as can be returned, is returned. It is for this reason that Terramation is the ultimate green deathcare option. It also uses about ⅛ the energy of a traditional flame cremation. Currently, no other disposition method allows organic material to be returned to the earth to create new life.



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