Ultimate Green Burial: Frozen & Vibrated Into Dust, Kinda Like a Terminator

By Jennifer Welsh | March 8, 2011 10:52 am

Sure, your life is pretty green. You bike to work, recycle, and use energy-saver light bulbs. But what about after you are done all that living? How can you turn your green lifestyle into a green deathstyle?

Two words: liquid nitrogen. A sweedish company, called Promessa Organic Burial says they’ve discovered the greenest possible way to bury your loved ones: freeze them in liquid nitrogen and then use sonic waves to shatter their body, a la T-1000 in Terminator 2.

The website describes the process and even provides a nice illustration:

Within a week and a half after death, the corpse is frozen to minus 18 degrees Celsius and then submerged in liquid nitrogen. This makes the body very brittle, and vibration of a specific amplitude transforms it into an organic powder that is then introduced into a vacuum chamber where the water is evaporated away.

The powdered, dehydrated remains of your body are then packaged neatly into a small cornstarch box and buried to rot away and be reabsorbed into the earth within 12 months.

As biologist and Promessa’s head of operations Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak puts it on the website:

“The method is based upon preserving the body in a biological form after death, while avoiding harmful embalming fluid. Then it can be returned to the ecological cycle in a dignified manner as a valuable contribution to the living earth.”

Once your body has been reduced to a dried-out powder and buried in a shallow grave, a tree or shrub can be planted on the spot. The plant will suck many of the remaining nutrients out of your decomposing remains and, as Wiigh-Mäsak says on the website:

“It provides us with deeper insights regarding the ecological cycle, and greater understanding of and respect for life on earth.”

You might not think that disposing of dead bodies would be environmentally harmful—dying does decrease the population, after all—but embalming fluids are dangerous for the earth;large shiny metal or wood coffins are wasteful; and even cremation, which uses the same amount of energy as driving almost 5,000 miles, releases mercury into the atmosphere.

For more information you can visit the Promessa Organic Burial website (Swedish and British) and their Facebook or Twitter pages, though the company hasn’t started providing the service yet.

Via i09

  • http://whoknewindeed.wordpress.com Nuno

    Wouldn’t it be easier, and most probably cheaper, if we just bury the bodies of the deceased without coffins?

    Personally speaking, I wouldn’t be bothered if my family decided to do that.

  • http://Discover David

    I like the Idea but instead of Planting something on top of me,mix me into a Batch of Brownies for my Friends to Enjoy !

  • mariner

    How “green” is making liquid nitrogen?…Still think burial at sea is more than likely the “greenist”

  • Marla

    Why not just bury my dead body out back? Liquid nitrogen, vibration, all a waste and not very green. Let my decomposing body feed all critters in the ground, then plant a shrub in the spring and rejoice.

  • http://pulsatance.com Justin

    um, no. not particularly green.

    making liquid nitrogren requires FREEZING AIR, which costs a lot of ENERGY, surely more than digging a hole and producing more carbon than a cremation.

    here’s a better idea for making America green: teach every high school student the basic principles of thermodynamics.

  • Georg

    @David (2.)

    Soylent Green Brownies?

  • Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor)

    Burying people au natural is certainly greener than what most people do now, but Promessa is claiming a couple of advantages of their freeze-dry method: that the burial is hygienic and the decomposition fast. Bury a whole body in your backyard and you get slow decomposition and potentially unwanted bacteria. Plus you don’t want Fido digging up Gramps’ femur and gnawing at it on your sofa.

    That said, we’re not claiming this is necessarily the most practical way to return a body to the Earth—notable, funny, and maybe even smart.

  • http://www.memorialecosystems.com billy campbell

    In response to “hygenic”, I am pretty sure that freeze drying and pulverizing bodies will not get rid of transmissible spongiform associated (TSA)prions (lke those that cause Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease) -in fact if powdered could be highly infectious. Unwanted bactera? Most surface water in the US is highly contaminated with bacteria-from farm animals and elsewhere. It is the reason we havewater teatment plants. The contribution of natural burial to significantly contaminating aquifers is nil. We have run the nation’s first conservation burial ground at Ramsey Creek for 12 years (and have probably close to 200 burials) and have NEVER had problems with animals. It is an ancient and highly effective technology for preventing animal disturbance.

  • Chris Winter

    “A sweedish company, called Promessa Organic Burial says they’ve discovered the greenest possible way to bury your loved ones: freeze them in liquid nitrogen and then use sonic waves to shatter their body, a la T-1000 in Terminator 2.”

    Um… A “sweedish” company???

  • Bri

    I also like the ideaand I agree with NUNO, why not just bury the body, itself? Of course,there is the problem with attracting pests, rodents and animals.

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