“Your Final Footprint” – summary


A brief summary of the August presentation to the Voluntary Simplicity group by Joy Thom

What is the most climate friendly way to dispose of our body once we have done with it? The evidence is not clear. Cremation uses a lot of energy since the temperature needs to remain high for a considerable time to ensure that the bones turn to ash. Also there are direct emissions from the burning during the process. On the other hand burial can involve expensive metal lined, high quality wood coffins, expensive headstones and on-going maintenance of the burial ground.
Two other body disposal techniques are available in other countries:

Promession – dissolving with liquid nitrogen and

Aquamation – dissolving in alkaline water. 

Both leave a non toxic substance suitable for the garden. Unfortunately they are not available in Perth.
In WA the best option currently available is natural burial. There are areas set aside at both Fremantle and Pinnaroo for this. For a natural burial the coffin must be made of an easily decomposable fibre such as  bamboo or banana skins.  There must be no metal in the coffin. Headstones are not allowed although there is a wall for remembrance plaques.  Flowers are not allowed.
For some options see: