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Bio-cremation: err it isn’t actually cremation

I am not a pedant, trust me. If you ask friends and significant other that would not make the list. Geek, yes sometimes, I’ll take that, but pedant, no.

There have been a number of articles recently about ‘bio-cremation’ a process by which the body is accelerated through stages of decomposition reducing it to a fairly small amount of residue that would take natural process many years. Promoters of this new innovative approach are lauding the environmental benefits – there is no ‘land take’ less air pollution etc. I have not seen actual evidence in terms of carbon consumption, but I can see they could have a point. Although what we choose to protect in the environment occasionally means a greater impact on another part for example cremation involves less land use but more use of carbon (compared to a green burial). I digress.

However this new process shouldn’t be called bio cremation, as there is no cremation involved whatsoever. The word cremation or cremate come from the Latin cremāre to burn. So if something doesn’t involve flame heat or what have you it seems a little disingenuous to call it cremation-anything, imagine bio-burial: the new alternative to burial where nothing gets buried!!

I love this: “Dale Hilton, the assistant director at Lannin Funeral Homes in Smiths Falls, Ontario, says the process is more environmentally friendly than both burial and what he calls flame-based cremation.”

“But it’s not just the green aspect that’s appealing, according to Hilton. He says many of his customers are choosing this new process, in part because it’s environmentally friendly, and in part because it’s a gentler way to deal with their loved one’s remains.”

Look, just so you know I am not on my high horse over this. I am sure Mr Hilton is sincere and lovely, it could be a great process, families may prefer it, it could potentially be more environmentally friendly…but the word cremation should not be used in its title – it is misleading. Dissolving, reducing, evaporating, and disintegrating – better but more unpalatable? I seem to think that now cremation has become acceptable in the lexicon we can now use it as a catch all even to the point of it being 100% inaccurate. Oh well, the joy of English language always changing.

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