Alkaline hydrolysis is a chemical process that uses a solution of 95% water and 5% potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide to reduce a body to components of liquid and bone. Bone fragments are retained so they can be dried and turned into a substance similar to cremated ashes. The environmentally-friendly process of water cremation was legalized in Colorado in 2011. A corpse is placed in a large cylindrical metal tube container and then, the solution is pumped into the vessel. The mixture mimics the natural decomposition process and gently dissolves the body. The skeletal remains and things like gold teeth and artificial joints from surgeries such as knee replacements are ground into ashes for the family. Other items are safely recycled.

Read more on a Colorado business that offers ‘water cremation,’ a greener alternative to the end-of-life process.