The process of disposing of human corpses is not usually considered an area of great innovation. So conservative have we been, in Western societies at any rate, that the now common method of cremation was not officially sanctioned in Australia until the start of the 20th century, long after the mock epitaph to English cricket that gave rise to the Ashes series. One of the chief motivations for the uptake of cremation was concern over sanitation, as the population growth caused by the industrialisation of cities was leading to overcrowded graveyards. In similar fashion, a modern environmental problem has led to the development of aquamation by an Australian. This process uses chemically treated water, heat and high pressure to speed up the natural process of decomposition known as alkaline hydrolysis. This is regarded as a bio-friendly alternative to cremation, which uses at least 10 times as much energy and produces over 200kg of greenhouse gas. The final output of aquamation can be put back into the earth as fertiliser.
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