Aquamation vs Traditional Cremation: Comparing the Environmental Impact

Aug 25, 2023


When it comes to end-of-life options, cremation has been a popular choice for many years. However, traditional cremation methods have come under scrutiny due to their environmental impact. In recent years, an alternative method called aquamation has emerged as a more sustainable option. In this article, we will compare the environmental impact of aquamation and traditional cremation.

What is Traditional Cremation?

Traditional cremation involves placing a body in a high-temperature chamber and burning it until only the bones remain. This process requires a significant amount of energy and releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Additionally, traditional cremation uses fossil fuels such as natural gas or propane to power the chamber.

What is Aquamation?

Aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, is an alternative method that uses water instead of fire to break down the body. The process involves placing the body in a stainless steel vessel filled with water and potassium hydroxide. The mixture is then heated and pressurized, causing the body to break down into its chemical components. The end result is bone fragments and a sterile liquid that can be safely disposed of.

Environmental Impact Comparison

Energy Usage

Traditional cremation requires a significant amount of energy to reach temperatures between 1400-1800 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, one traditional cremation uses about 28 gallons of fuel and produces approximately 540 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. In contrast, aquamation uses only one-seventh of the energy required for traditional cremation.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As mentioned earlier, traditional cremation produces harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and mercury vapor. These emissions contribute to climate change and air pollution. On the other hand, aquamation does not produce any harmful emissions during the process.

Ash Production

Traditional cremation typically produces about 3-7 pounds of ash depending on the size of the body. Aquamation produces more ashes than traditional cremation - about 20-30% more. However, these ashes are much lighter in color and texture than those produced by traditional cremation.


Aquamation offers an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation methods. It uses less energy and does not produce any harmful greenhouse gas emissions during the process. While it does produce more ashes than traditional cremation methods, these ashes are lighter in color and texture.

If you're interested in learning more about aquamation or other eco-friendly end-of-life options, speak with your local funeral home or service provider.

Love and Light,



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