Feeding the Flowers: An Eco Way to Go When You Die

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Paul Misciagno
Ever think of why we don't compost ourselves when we go for the big reward? Sounds a little off, right?

Well, I don't think composting ourselves and growing food out of it would be appealing, but there is a purpose for all compost and perhaps there is a more environmental way than the common burial. Now I know this is a touchy subject that will skirt on religious beliefs, but with all due respect, let's leave religion out and look at this with an open mind.

It is morbid thinking of composting humans, but let's take a look at a common burial and you can decide which is more morbid. Once deceased, we prepare the body by removing the blood and filling with a preservative. The formaldehyde is injected only so we can view the body at a ceremony before the body starts to decompose. A lot of people may not know this, but you can elect to not be embalmed. If we do get embalmed, why don't we drain the embalming fluid after the ceremony and recycle it? After all it is a preservative, so it won't go bad. By embalming we are just asking for toxins in our water system.

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Farmer Jay
National Cemetery Boynton Beach
In addition to preserving the body we use an enormous amount of resources to make coffins to bury ourselves, not to mention the exorbitant cost to the families of the deceased. The average cost of a burial is $6,000 to $8,000. We take wood (often exotic and endangered trees), metal, cement, and sealers and put together a vault to lock the body in and bury in the ground. The caskets are buried in a cement vault to prevent the ground from sinking in as decomposition progresses. It is unknown how long this system stays together underground or if it ever breaks down. Also, it is unknown how this toxic time capsule contributes to pollution. This technology is surely impressive if you are a Pharaoh, but in today's world I think we know better. Here are some statistics of what we bury along with our dead in one year in the United States.

  • 30 million board feet of wood
  • 90,272 tons of steel caskets
  • 14,000 tons of steel vaults
  • 2,700 tons of copper and bronze
  • 1,636,000 tons of cement
  • 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid (formaldehyde)

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Farmer Jay
Concrete vaults we entomb our loved ones with.

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