A Startling New Way To Look At Death And Dying: Green Death and Human Composting

Green Death: The European Way

The European Union has been working on a circular economy package of rules, focused on reducing waste and pollution. This is part of a broader push by the EU to address climate change and promote sustainable development. As the circular economy package aims to reduce waste in landfills by encouraging recycling while also promoting recycling technologies composting has been a big part of focus!. Taking composting as the main object of observation, in fact, it’s possible that human composting could be included as one way the European Union can move towards this goal—a way that’s much less wasteful than burying bodies in ground-based cemeteries or cremating them. Green death trend is affecting European Member States since there is an increase in demand for natural burials. (European Commission: Green Death Trend)

Human composting is a process that involves composting human remains. There is controversy surrounding the practice, as some people believe it’s inhumane and doesn’t solve the problem. The use of composted human remains is becoming more common in Europe as a way to deal with the deceased.

One of the main goals of a circular economy is zero waste and this goal could be applied to Europe’s dead citizens, according to environmentalists. 

The European Commission says that human composting could be part of an overall shift towards “zero-waste” models for the continent’s cemeteries.

The policy would require all European cemeteries to offer body composting as an alternative to burial or cremation by 2025, but it has been criticised by some religious groups.

Environmentalists say that composting human remains is better for the environment than either cremation or burial. According to the experts, it takes up to 10 times more energy to burn a body than it does to compost it.

The proposal that will put a focus on green death should be first examined by the European Parliament and member states before it can become a set of laws at the level of affecting all Member States of the European Union.

There are only a few European countries that use composted human remains, but it’s becoming more popular. One country that uses it a lot is Luxembourg. The position of the government is that making use of dead bodies in all possible ways helps to preserve natural resources, helps to recycle resources and reduces greenhouse gases. Therefore, there are many reasons to use composted human remains in Europe.

There are many benefits to using composted human remains in Europe- for example, it helps to preserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps to recycle resources, as biological elements can be used to help grow crops and create other resources. It also reduces the amount of land needed, as bodies can be disposed of in areas that were previously used for farmland. It can also help to reduce the cost of burials, as less land is needed for burials.

The environmental impact of traditional burials is high: coffins and material

The environmental impact of traditional burials is high because coffins are often made from hard woods and other materials that take a long time to decompose. Traditional burials are expensive and often require land that could be used for other purposes, such as housing or agriculture. They also consume large amounts of fossil fuels during the embalming process, which adds to our overall carbon emissions.

Cities are being forced to build new cemeteries

In addition, cemeteries use vast amounts of land, which means that cities are being forced to build new cemeteries on the outskirts. This can be problematic for residents who want their loved ones buried closer to home and within walking distance of where they live.

As said above, traditional burials are coming with quite expressive amount of cost, in addition, families often cannot afford the cost of purchasing a plot at a cemetery and must pay extra fees to have plots added upon death or exhumation. In some cases, these costs can add up to thousands of euros per year (approximately 1125 EUR).

Then there is the issue of steel burial vaults.

And this is where the burial vault comes in. Burial vaults are used to prevent the ground from collapsing and preserve a body’s dignity. They’re made of steel and concrete, both of which take a long time to break down—a fact that makes them an environmental nightmare when they’re buried in a cemetery. Not only do they use up valuable resources like steel and concrete, they also require lots of energy to produce them—energy that could be better spent on other things, like renewable sources or even making more burial vaults!

Mourners place flowers at gravesites

Mourners place flowers at gravesites and these flowers are often tossed in the trash once they begin to wilt.

Flowers are a waste of resources. They are often not biodegradable, and they can be sprayed with pesticides. 

Cremation has its own set of problems.

Cremation has its own set of problems. While the process itself is relatively straightforward, the energy required to heat the cremation chamber can be substantial. Typically, that energy comes from fossil fuels and generates greenhouse gases in their own right. In order to ensure that this process doesn’t continue indefinitely into the future, many countries have instituted bans on burying ashes in landfills or using them as construction materials (for example, concrete). Ashes are also sometimes used in fertilizers and cosmetics—the latter being considered an extremely odd application considering it doesn’t really provide any benefit for anyone involved with it!

In many places, there are laws against the use of human ashes as fertiliser. However, there are some legitimate reasons why someone might want to spread the ashes from a cremation on their garden or lawn.

The EU’s future energy system may include human composting — but that approach may not be right for everyone or everywhere.

The European Union (EU) is developing a new approach to dispose of dead bodies that may be used in the future. A new technology called “human composting” is being developed by European researchers as part of the EU’s circular economy package. This process converts human remains into fertilizer for use on agricultural fields and gardens.

In theory, there are few barriers to this approach becoming widespread: it can be done anywhere there is space for a compost pile where temperatures can be kept at between 55 degrees Celsius and 70 degrees Celsius (130–160 Fahrenheit). However, the practice has not yet been widely adopted by either municipalities or private companies — though some have expressed interest in it.

The problem of dead bodies is real and the need to find a solution is urgent. When we look at the numbers, it seems that there are ways to solve this problem, but they will require a change in mentality: people need to be aware of what happens when you die and how your body can be reused if you are composted yourself or donated for research purposes.

But what do you think? Is it possible to make the European Union’s energy system more sustainable by using human composting?




Sources:

https://climate.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2021-12/swd_2021_451_parts_1_to_3_en_0.pdf

https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/09/20/human-composting-how-to-stay-green-after-you-hit-the-grave

https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sr/speech/green-death-trend

https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/science_green_burial.html 

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