The Good Funeral Guide Blog

The future’s bright, the future’s…..

Monday, 6 February 2017

Inside the ecoLegacy Dublin HQ

Towards the end of last year, we listened to Tony Ennis of ecoLegacy speaking at the ICCM conference about his soon-to-be released new alternative to cremation. What he had to say to the packed conference room was so fascinating that the GFG decided we needed to know more. So on a chilly January morning, Fran hopped on a flight to Dublin to spend the day at the ecoLegacy HQ.

‘I have to say, I went to Dublin not really knowing what to expect. Everything I had heard from Tony made sense, I’d done lots of background reading about him and his project, and it all appears to be 100% genuine. But I also thought that this was too good to be true, and that there had to be a catch.

I have to report, dear reader, that if there is one, I haven’t found it. It is quite possible that I was privileged enough to be among the earliest people to be shown something that is groundbreaking – and game changing – for the ways that we deal with our dead.

Everything that I saw and was told makes sense. The people involved are passionate and genuine. Huge amounts of research have been done. Various processes have been trialled and found wanting, so the engineers started over and tried a different way until they found the solution. The potential issues with current law in the UK have been addressed. There are very eminent bodies overseeing and interested in what Tony is doing (his work is being overseen by Imperial College), and the main players in the funeral industry have all already been to Dublin to be shown the unit and given the tour as I was.

It seems to me that it’s simply a matter of time before the first ecoLegacy unit is available to UK clients – and probably not much time at that. Then we will see how the public respond to something completely new. My instinctive feeling is that it will be phenomenally successful.’

Read the information from ecoLegacy for yourself below.

And if you have any questions, write them in the comments. We’ll get Tony to respond.

“Basically, ecoLegacy has developed “cremation 2.0”, a next-generation, environmental and ethical alternative to burial and cremation called ecoLation. It will ensure a greener planet and cleaner air. The company has its headquarters in Ireland and is currently operating in the UK and the US.

The idea was inspired by Philip Backman, a US scientist and teacher, who came up with the original idea around 1971, the same year Tony Ennis was born. ecoLegacy’s goal is to make Phil’s vision a reality and scale it globally and this is currently happening with initial orders coming in from all across Europe and the US. (more info here

ecoLation is a flameless form of cremation. It has developed a thermal process that uses cold and heat and pressure. It reduces emissions and poisons from reentering the earth’s precious and delicate eco systems.It is respectful to the body, it is respectful to the family and it is respectful to the planet.

So what happens when a loved one dies and has chosen ecoLation?

First they cool the body to just the right temperature. The body is placed inside a pod, the temperature is lowered and the body is chilled.  Water is released back and forth over the body reducing the remains down into ice particles. These particles are filtered through to a unit that recreates the earth’s natural process that normally takes thousands of years.

All toxins and chemicals we build up while living are neutralised and the result is completely organic nutrient rich remains. A tiny seed – of a plant, a tree or a flower can be placed into this powder and, coupled with soil, water and love, you or your loved one can grow into a beautiful strong tree or your favorite flower.

In terms of efficiency, the unit uses electric energy to get up to temperature and to create the right conditions. However, as the remains are ecoLated, they break down on a molecular level and release a very clean bio gas. This gas is turned into heat energy which is then used to power the system.  Whilst there will always be an energy requirement, it is brought back as close to zero as possible through our technology.

In the next 70 years, the Earth’s population will reach and probably soar past 10 billion people.

ecoLegacy offers an ecological choice to funeral directors and families that will ensure a greener planet and cleaner air and thus a healthier ecosystem.

Unlike burial and cremation, ecoLation offers a pure, more sustainable choice and breathes new life into the earth in plant form.

In the next 100 years, at current rates, we will need to bury or cremate more than 10 billion people. A staggering 54% of the world’s population lives on just 3% of the land, in cities, where the urban landscape cannot accept further burial or afford the pollution side effects of burning our dead. Typically funeral home clients have the two standard alternatives presented to them, but from an environmental, ecological, ethical or indeed practical standpoint, neither of these two methods are sustainable for the long term.

Current burial rates are unsustainable in our modern world.  More and more we can detect the effects of burial from fluids leaching into our soil and water courses. This hazardous waste also contains embalming fluids and, in recent times, a huge degree of chemicals from end of life drugs administered. Not to be overlooked either are the harmful pathogens that live on after we die, or the veneer on the coffins etc. We are running out of space too.

Cremation, a method becoming more popular, has relatively high pollution levels,  releasing on average 400kg of CO2 per body into the atmosphere. Cremation is also responsible for a number of other pollutants and dioxins and of course it consumes fossil fuel in the form of either oil or gas.

ecoLation is clean. There are no emissions of harmful chemicals. The body is ethically treated and all metals and foreign compounds removed. There are no chemicals active, no diseases still alive, no issues in relation to leaching and no carbon / heavy metals or dioxins. The remains are totally sterile, totally natural and totally clean. It’s a new way to be remembered.”

Tony Ennis with one of the ecoLation pods


17 comments on “The future’s bright, the future’s…..

  1. Jed

    Sunday 12th February 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I’m a bit confused as to what exactly the process is – I’ve watched the video ‘what is ecoLation’ and it seems to be very similar to promession – cooling the body enough so it breaks into small bits, drying it – presumably this is where the flameless burning comes in? Is it freeze and high heat rather than freeze and vibration? Does the body have to be removed from the coffin/container/pod? What’s the cost likely to be?

  2. Thursday 9th February 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I am another sceptic. The ‘process’ as described here, seems a little vague, presumably this has been trialled on animals?

    I completely agree regarding burial, and cremation feels so last century, which of course it isn’t, it’s already the one before last, even in its present form.

    I would want/love to see a demonstration, including sight of the remains when the process is complete, but if it actually works, why not? Cremation in detail is horrible and terribly unfriendly to the planet.

    I don’t see parliament objecting if it works as described, public opinion is a little harder to gauge.

    • Thursday 16th February 2017 at 8:57 am

      Hi David, we have had many FDs and crematoria operators visit us. Please email your details to and I will ask our UK lead Steve to contact you regarding our next demo day for the funeral community.

  3. Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 10:54 am

    How much for a pod?

    • Thursday 16th February 2017 at 8:55 am

      Hi Claire, we provide a full technology implementation rather than just providing pods in isolation. Please contact us on if you have specific needs and we’ll certainly try and help.

  4. Vilma

    Monday 6th February 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Grossartig, bin ueberzeugt, wir alle sollten darueber nachdenken!!!

    • Monday 6th February 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks Vilma, we are encouraged by your kind words.

  5. Nick Gandon

    Monday 6th February 2017 at 12:51 pm

    “The potential issues with current law in the UK have been addressed.”

    I’d be very interested to know just how they have side-stepped the current regs. It all sounds too good to be true….

    • Monday 6th February 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Nick, ecoLegacy hasn’t “side-stepped” any current regs. We have met many stakeholders from funeral directors and crematoria operators to relevant government bodies. We simply provide next generation technology to the funeral community, which will adhere to regulations.

      • Nick Gandon

        Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 11:22 am

        Thanks Mary. Forgive me for my “lack of grasp” on this point, but I understood the situation as far as Law currently allowed, was that the legal options were either burial or cremation, and cremation has to take place within a building licensed by the Home Office for that purpose. I’m not disparaging this new concept, but is certainly is neither burial, nor cremation. Resomation was also neither one nor t’other, which is why it could not be licensed in the UK.
        I’d be most interested to learn more….

        • Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 1:55 pm

          Hi Nick, happy to try and clarify a little more if it helps. We have engaged with the MoJ as well as other stakeholders. At the heart of our technology there is a thermal process that has no flames. The law states that cremation is the burning of the human body, but fails to stipulate with or without flame. In other countries (or indeed in some states in the US) there are explicit references to flame. However, where the word burning occurs we believe that we are compliant. So, in the eyes of the UK law, ecoLation is not illegal. Of course there are some regulatory points that we need to address, but we are confident that we will. We want to offer an amazing new technology that has no flames and no fumes. The environmental impacts are massive and we would like this to be a new choice for funeral directors, crematoria and the consumer. Hope that helps!

          • Nick Gandon

            Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 3:36 pm

            That certainly clarifies the process, and does indeed answer my question.
            Thank you Mary!

        • Jonathan Taylor

          Thursday 9th February 2017 at 2:30 pm

          Like Michael Jarvid (see below) I have an inner pedant. I understand the law says that bodies must be disposed of hygienically but is disinterested in the method that achieves this end. The Good Funeral Guide cites the case of Diogenes, the friiend of Plymouth artist Robert Lenkiewicz who, legally it turned out, preserved and kept Diogenes’ dead body under the bed for years; Diogenes has been on exhibition tours in his court-tested state of ‘hygienic disposal’.
          So, I suggest, the only test of a method’s legality (apart from the regulatory points referred to) is that it ain’t dirty.

          • Jonathan Taylor

            Thursday 9th February 2017 at 2:31 pm

            [… the same pedant that didn’t spot ‘Jarvid’ – apologies Michael.}

    • Michael Jarvis

      Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 9:44 am

      This is a good example of how imprecise the word “address” can be when used as a verb without a qualifier. If I say ‘I have addressed my credit card bill’ I may mean ‘it’s on the top of the pile, Guv, honest !’, or, ‘I’ve paid it in full’. Or anywhere in between.

      • Fran Hall

        Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 10:49 am

        Hi Mike, sorry for my inexact phraseology – my understanding of the situation is that the team at EcoLation are confident that their technology and the unit they are bringing to the market is in complete compliance with relevant regulations.

        Hope that makes it clearer.

        • Michael Jarvis

          Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 11:32 am

          Thanks, Fran. Sometimes my inner pedant gets the better of me…

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