Forget those GPS graves in the jungle we brought you a few weeks ago, because in the future what we're really going to do is pour—yes pour—our loved ones down the drain with the help of some lye and an iron coffin contraption from BioSafe Engineering. The last hurdle, as always, will be to overcome the yuck factor many people experience when they realise this really does mean turning mum and pops into coffee syrup.
The lye (alkaline hydrolysis) process is as old as dirt, and until the enterprising chaps at BioSafe molded it into a human-sized coffin, farmers used it to dissolve dead animals like Charlotte the spider to save on burial, cremation or other environmentally unsound disposal costs. It was only recently engineers got the stones to apply the technique to humans.
The process [...]uses lye, 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch to destroy bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders that are similar to pressure cookers.
Before you break out the checkbook, remember that the option isn't on Funeral Home checklists just yet, and US lawmakers are predictably against legalising the practice in all 50 states (Minnesota and New Hampshire are the only states where lye burials are technically legal).
Even so, the mortuary pubs are already singing lye's praises. "It's not often that a truly game-changing technology comes along in the funeral service," said a source in the newsletter Funeral Service Insider. "But we might have gotten a hold of one."
On an editorial note, I'm pretty sure the geeky jokes will write themselves in regard to this new way of dealing with death, but I'll get things started anyway. SLURM! [The Associated Press]