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RE: Cremation or burial?

My colleagues and I here in North Carolina gave this some deep thought,
called in our life-cycle assessment expert, and have the following
observations to share with the listserv:

1) "Disposal or other release to the environment" (burial) is at the bottom
of EPA's waste minimization hierarchy. 

2) Recycling -- the composting or rendering options -- is higher up on the

3) Reuse is preferable to recycling. Potentially there could be some energy
efficiency gains if you can find a way to reuse the product (corpse) instead
of recycling and refabricating it. Our reference source here is a book one
of the engineers is reading called "Old Souls:  The Scientific Evidence for

4) Reduction is at the top of the hierarchy, of course. We assembled a
subcommittee to look  into tools to prevent death and thereby reduce the
number of corpses produced. However, our life-cycle guy  brought in modeling
results which showed that the "use stage" of the product (an
alive-and-driving human being) generated even bigger environmental impacts
than the disposal stage of the product.  

We therefore concluded that the solution to this problem doesn't lie at the
disposal stage. Any of the DfE folks care to design us a human with fewer
impacts throughout its entire life cycle?

Melissa Malkin Weber 

-----Original Message-----
From: The name's Read,......... Adam Read
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 6:08 AM
To: p2tech@great-lakes.net
Subject: Cremation or burial?

Dear all.

please help.

i have a student investigating sustainable funerals, who is interested in 
burial vs. cremation and the environmental and social issues surrounding 

does anyone have any information or experience on US practices and 
arguements they wopuld like to share?

are there any good reference documents, contact numbers or sites on the 
world wide web that would prove useful?

please help!!!

please e-mail me directly on a.read@kingston.ac.uk

many thanks


Discussion into the differing environmental impacts between cremation and 


Adam Read

WEMRU Research Fellow
School of Geography
Kingston University
Penrhyn Road
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey, KT1 2EE

Tel: 0181 547 7509
Fax: 0181 547 7497
Answerphone: 0181 399 1371
Mobile: 0788 166 1131
E-mail: a.read@kingston.ac.uk
Web Page: http://www.kingston.ac.uk/geog/phds/adam.htm