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POPSCI STAFF VIA SLACK

The green­est burial is an un­adorned body in a shal­low grave. But bioethi­cist Philip Ol­son says most folks pre­fer a more dig­ni­fied send-off. En­vi­ron­men­tally, that’s tough. Em­balm­ing flu­ids can leach into ground­wa­ter. And each cre­ma­tion cre­ates hun­dreds of pounds of CO2. Ol­son sug­gests a sim­ple flush down the drain via al­ka­line hy­drol­y­sis. Tech­ni­cians heat and pres­sur­ize a cylin­der con­tain­ing the body and cor­ro­sive chem­i­cals. A few hours later, they flush the re­sult­ing or­ganic liq­uid and place the bones in an urn. The 300 gal­lons of wa­ter aside, it could be a greener way to go.

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