By ELIZABETH BENSON
Talking about cremation can be uncomfortable or considered taboo, but this process is an important part of healing for many. At Paws into Grace, we offer two cremation options — traditional fire cremation and a water-based cremation called Aquamation, also known as Alkaline Hydrolysis.
What is Alkaline Hydrolysis? Alkaline Hydrolysis is an accelerated process of natural decomposition. This process uses temperature, gentle water flow, and alkalinity until only the bones remain.
The Alkaline Hydrolysis process takes around 19 hours to complete versus flame cremation’s one to four hour process. After the 19 hour process, it then takes about three days to dry out the bones. After the bones are completely dry, they can be assembled into ash. You get about 20% more ashes back, as well as a more desirable white to tan fine powder than compared to flame cremation. The ash remains are 100% safe to handle as Alkaline Hydrolysis is a proven sterilization process that results in pathogen- and disease-free remains.
Not only is Alkaline Hydrolysis a gentle process, it is also environmentally friendly. There are no direct emissions of harmful greenhouse gases or mercury, and it does not require the burning of fossil fuels. It also uses significantly less energy in comparison to flame-based cremation. Just wait there’s more — there are also no harsh chemicals used during this process. Now this might have you wondering “What about the alkali?” The chemical used in Alkaline Hydrolysis is Potassium Hydroxide. This chemical is not considered harsh and is used to make a handful of products you might have around your house. People use Potassium Hydroxide to make things like liquid soap, shampoo, lotion, or even batteries. It is used in a variety of industries, from food to consumer care to agriculture, and more.
The Alkaline Hydrolysis process was originally developed as a method to process animal carcasses into plant food, patented by Amos Herbert Hobson in 1888. Yes that’s right! Plant food. The liquid that comes from the machine is referred to as “effluent” and is made of amino acids, peptides, sugars and salts that can be used as fertilizer. It is also completely safe to drain into our sewer systems. This modern technology has been in use by universities and the scientific industries for more than 25 years! In 2005, Bio-Response Solutions designed, sold, and installed the first single cadaver alkaline hydrolysis system and placed it in Mayo Clinic, where it is still used today. In 2007, the machine was used in a pet facility. You would be surprised to find out there are many other places that use this machine, including our very own San Diego Zoo!
Aquamation has been slowly approved across the United States, and has proven to be the green cremation option our planet deserves!
We are very happy to be able to offer Aquamation to all of our Paws Family.
For every pet that is privately cremated, we plant a tree in their honor, and even offer eco-friendly urn options!