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Swedish Soylent Green: Compost from Corpsicles

John on May 18, 2007 at 12:49 am

There’s a fruit stand near my house that sells fresh strawberries. The strawberries are grown in a small field behind the stand. Immediately adjacent to the field is a large cemetery. I get the whole circle of life thing, but I just can’t do it. I buy my strawberries on the other side of town.

Anyway, that came to mind when I read this story from the Local:

Sweden is considering allowing freeze-drying as a new method to bury the dead instead of traditional burials and cremations, Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth told the Swedish church’s weekly paper on Wednesday.

The freeze-drying method offers an environmentally friendly burial transforming corpses into organic compost. Traditional burials and cremations hurt the environment by polluting air and water, as a corpse buried in a coffin will take many years to decompose completely.

Under the new method, the corpse is taken to a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celsius in a liquid nitrogen bath and the body is broken down into a rough powder through mechanical vibrations.

The remains are then dehydrated and cleared of any metal, reducing a body weighing 75 kilograms (165 pounds) in life to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of pink-beige powder, plus the remains of the coffin.

As gross as this sounds, it’s really not any grosser than what is “normally” done to the bodies of the dead in America. Still, the idea of turning someone into compost is really gross. If this catches on, I’ll have to stop eating the meatball special at Ikea.

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Category: Science & Tech |

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