What do you want done with your body when you die? Burial is one option, but more and more people are opting for cremation. Burning a body, though, has its own set of environmental problems - apparently, cremation is responsible for 16% of the UK's mercury pollution.
Now, there are some other options. A Glasgow company has created a new, more environmentally friendly way of disposing of a corpse. It's called "alkaline hydrolysis," and it works by dissolving the body in heated alkaline water. It takes two to three hours, and turns the body into a powder, just as cremation does, but without the heat and air pollution.
If the thought of being dissolved in liquid doesn't appeal to you, Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Masak has created a process that freeze-dries the body and then shakes it until it disintegrates. So far, it's only been tested on pigs, but Ms. Wiigh-Masak is confident it will be available for people soon.
One other expert on the environment and human remains believes the ideal way to dispose of bodies is simply to bury them in biodegradable bags under trees. Professor Roger Short at the University of Melbourne says this method is the most environmentally friendly solution, and the best way of reducing CO2.