A recent article from The Universe, a Brigham Young University publication, which you can read here starts off with the following quote, “The baby boomers have changed every industry in their lives, so they’ll change this one as well.” That was said by Utah funeral director and founder of the Nelson Family Mortuary Lance Nelson.
Nelson’s comment comes in a discussion of Utah HB 387 – the bill that allowed alkaline hydrolysis to become legal in Utah, making Utah the 14th state to do so, during the 2018 legislative session. According to the article the Utah Funeral Directors Association hired a lobbyist and helped get the bill passed.
The article points out what they believe are advantages of the process, sometimes referred to as “Green Cremation” or “Flameless Cremation”. Among the advantages cited are studies that show green cremation reduces a carbon footprint by over 75 percent and that is a growing enticement to consumers.
One representative who voted against the proposal was Republican Representative Mike Noel. Noel commented, “It just seems like a very macabre thing to do with the human body. . . so I’ll be voting against this.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not take a stand according to the article. According to the article, the following is their stand on cremation, “The church does not normally encourage cremation. The family of the deceased must decide whether the body should be cremated, taking into account any laws governing burial or cremation. In some countries, the law requires cremation.”
Funeral Director Daily take: I think alkaline hydrolysis is here to stay. The states are starting to get this on their agenda and in the next few years I’m guessing that the process will be legal in virtually all 50 states. The idea of less carbon footprint will drive this message and to a lesser extent, most state legislatures are happy to pass bills that give consumers more choice.
I think making the option available is the right thing to do. While it may take awhile for the idea to catch on with consumers, I feel that it will and those funeral home operators who have made the investment in alkaline hydrolysis will eventually reap the benefits. I’m also guessing that more consumer friendly names like “Green Cremation” will replace the technical term of alkaline hydrolysis to make the process more consumer friendly and hasten adoption by the masses.