There may soon be a new (more eco-friendly) option in funeral services: dissolving bodies in lye and flushing the residue down the drain.
Lye is an alkaline chemical also known as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and the process of using it to dissolve certain substances is called alkaline hydrolysis.
Alkaline hydrolysis has actually been around for years and is used in a variety of processes including the disposal of other biological and biohazardous waste. By avoiding the emissions generated during cremation, alkaline hydrolysis may be a more eco-friendly option.
Although the process is legal in two U.S. states, no funeral homes in the country currently offer it as a funeral service. Read about how this may soon change.