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Cremation or Aquamation?

Cremation or Aquamation?

When you choose Aquamation, you choose
to honour the memory of your beloved pet companion
and protect the environment.

Procedures for Pet Cremation

NOTE: This page has content that some readers may find disturbing.  

Fire based cremation uses natural gas, propane or diesel. Due to emissions and pollutants, strict zoning regulates the location of crematoriums, and in some cases, the Ministry of the Environment gets involved in the permitting process.

In pet cremation, bodies are either kept frozen or in a cooler. The majority of fire based crematoriums will cremate the deceased animals in plastic bags. Most bags are never opened and pet owners tend to include blankets, collars, plastic toys and even towels. Today´s materials are very often treated with fire retardants, so these will take a long time to cremate. Cremations are either started in a cold retort or hot, depending on the type of cremation: communal, segregated or single body.  Retorts are made up of brick and require extensive maintenance, materials and repairs every 5-7 years.  Harmful emissions such as dioxin, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide are released in the air through the flue. Even though most crematorium units have pre-set temperatures, more often than not black smoke can be seen spewing from the chimneys during initial burn and startup, or if the retort is overheating when in use for a full day´s operation. The operator is required to monitor the process at all times to ensure the retort does not overheat and to extend burn time when needed.

Once the cremation process is completed, the cremated bones are swept from the chamber into containers. The operator then visually inspects the cremains for any metals and/or screws from surgical procedures - many times the operator must use their fingers to find these as most magnets do not find them at all. Here the operator should be wearing masks and gloves to prevent inhaling ash. The operator will also remove any large pieces of black ´flesh´ or materials that did not burn properly. The operator will then place the remaining cremains in a cremulator to be ground to a granular consistency.The cremains are then put in an urn, a box or  plastic bag to be returned to the family. If the cremains are from a communal cremation, then the destination of the cremains are at the discretion of the operator, from landfills, waste disposal to spreading on land.

Procedures for Pet Aquamation

Alkaline hydrolysis currently does not have specific zoning as there are no emissions or pollutants. If the effluent is to be applied on land as a fertilizer, volume will dictate the local approval process. If released into the eco-system, volume again dictates the local approval process.

In pet Aquamation, bodies are kept in a cooler. All bodies are removed from whatever they were transported in, bags or containers. Any collars, toys, blankets or towels are also removed and returned to the family. The bodies are then placed in their own cradles within the stainless steel vessel, and alkali is then added. The operator then starts the process which requires no supervision or additional handling. The vessel is fully automated.

Once the process is over, the effluent is released and the bones are removed from the vessel. The effluent can either be used as fertilizer or simply flushed into the sewer system and recycled. Due to the high organic content, the effluent is actually considered beneficial to the process of wastewater treatment plants. Since there is no fire, and there are no other materials in the vessel other than deceased animals, the operator does not have to worry about removing black flesh or materials. Metals and screws from surgical procedures are easily identified without the use of a magnet. The operator will place the bones in a processor to be ground to a fine powder. The bone powder is put in an urn, a box or plastic bag to be returned to the family. If the bone dust is from a communal cremation, then the destination of the powder is also at the discretion of the operator - however, the powder can be added to compost.

Want to know more about Aquamation?

We developed Frequently Asked Questions to provide you with more information on pet Aquamation.

If you would like to see the immediate benefits of Aquamation, the Cremation vs Aquamation Chart will give you a quick overview.

If you would like to compare the environemental impact of burial, fire based cremation and Aquamation, the After Care Comparisons will explain it in detail.