News from Europe

Dutch government wants to recycle dead bodies

In the Netherlands, an unusual project is underway aiming to enable specific recycling of the deceased. The mortal remains would be subjected to chemical processes. The unnecessary part of the "product" would be passed on to the family; the rest of the processed remains would be used as fertiliser or biogas.


According to the project, the bodies of the deceased would be subject to alkaline hydrolysis (dissolving the body in a chemical liquid). Bones, which would be quite fragile after the process, would be passed on to families. If placed in an urn, they could be buried. The liquid created from the bodies could be used as a fertiliser in agriculture or for the production of biogas. The bill is to be presented in 2021.

Currently, the Dutch can bury the dead, cremate their bodies or donate them to science. It is also possible to scatter ashes in the sea. However, the Ministry of the Interior would like to allow other forms of “burial” as well. This is where alkaline hydrolysis appears – announced as safe for the environment and worthy for the deceased. 


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