Co-operative Funeralcare puts its money on alkaline hydrolysis

Charles Cowling

From The Co-operative booklet (2011) My Legacy.  Ethical Strategy:

Throughout the 20th century, people in the UK were limited to the choice of either burial or cremation when dealing with a loved one’s remains. Now, in the early part of the 21st century, The Co-operative Funeralcare is putting significant resources behind the development of Resomation.® This new alternative uses an alkaline hydrolysis process and, like cremation, leaves behind a quantity of ash.

Resomation® has a number of environmental benefits including a reduction in the amount of energy needed in comparison to cremation, and a carbon footprint which is 35% less than cremation. The Co-operative Funeralcare is working towards having the process legally recognised throughout the UK.

Find out what you don’t know about Resomation here.

The, so far as I know, unpublished fact about Funeralcare’s interest in Resomation is that it owns 65 per cent of the company. My apologies to Funeralcare if this is confidential information.

In the light of this, we may speculate that Funeralcare regards alkaline hydrolysis as the technology which will depose cremation, confound its competitors and make its fortune.

What do you think of that?


13 thoughts on “Co-operative Funeralcare puts its money on alkaline hydrolysis

  1. Charles Cowling

    Thank you Jocelyne – It’s a slow journey into the psyche of nations…

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    Jocelyne Monette

    Interesting to see how facts can get distorted easily – the old adage, if you tell one person a story, it changes before it gets to the next person!
    Anyhow – Bio Response is the only manufacturer offering low pressure alkaline hydrolysis – which by the way is the proper term. Resomation is simply a trade name, as is aquamation, bio-cremaiton, water cremation and so on. The process is called alkaline hydrolysis –
    As well, Bio Response is the only one also offering low pressure pet systems – they do manufacture high pressure systems, but the low pressure is less costly to purchase and operate. As for the Mayo Clinic, Sandy Sullivan did not invent that – if there is a way to post a PDF to this blog, I would post the actual history behind this and the fact that Sandy Sullivan was once employed by the owner and CEO of Bio Response – Joe Wilson. He truly is the pioneer and has over 35 yrs experience in alkaline hydrolysis for all kinds of industries.
    Bio Response has a unit in Canada for humans in Prince Albert SK at Gray Funeral Homes – and Quebec is next in line with 2 human units and 1 pet. Bio Response has a pet unit in Victoria BC –
    In the USA Bio Response has human units in Chicago (high pressure) and low pressure in Maine, Ohio, Oregon and several other states (sorry its late here) and as for pet units – they have 2 in FL, 5 in CA, 2 in TX, 4 in OH and one in NY – and counting…..
    So there – said what I had to say to set the record straight.
    Thank you for your time.

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling

    Ed, thank you for this. I meant to add a link to your site this morning having tracked you down as the outfit which manufactures a system which does not use high temperature and does not operate at high pressure — factors which, I think, make the process much more acceptable aesthetically, not to mention environmentally. I urge readers to visit Ed’s website – and to follow the goings-on in Ohio. It’s a big story right now. Here’s one link:

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling
    Ed Gazvoda

    The only operating alkali disposition system at a funeral home was sold by CycledLife, We manufacture a system that costs just $59,000 USD. The process cost is about $30 per body.

    The Coffin Spa(TM) by CycledLife is the only alkaline hydrolysis system that is economically viable.

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling

    My business brain is as sophisticated as a one-cell organism.

    However, this seems to me to make sense of why Midlands Co-op would be interested in forking out £8million on a crematorium (rather than build a promessorium from scratch, for perhaps 10 times that, and give their families no choice of cremation – only a fool…) It would give them the competitive edge very nicely (We Offer More Choice), make them look ‘green’, and fool everyone else nicely thank you. Imagine: ‘Protecting the Planet – Because We Care’. Makes me go green, and not with envy.

    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Rupert Callender

    As far as I know, Sandy invented the one in the Mayo clinic.

    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling

    But this is just Sandy Sullivan’s (nice man in my experience)particular process, yes? It’s not the only one. They’ve been dissolving donated cadavers at the Mayo Clinic in the US for years…

    Charles Cowling
  8. Charles Cowling

    A chilling analysis, SN, the more so since you clearly have a business brain. The prospect is potentially horrifying.

    You lighten things up somewhat with that excellent double joke at the end. Very good.

    Your analysis is predicated on alk hydrolysis winning out as the alternative technology to cremation. Even if it does, it can’t possibly be patentable. As a cremator-half-full sort of person I take hope from that.

    Any other wise heads out there?

    (Should you ever find yourself in Norfolk, SN, you will find you have a doppelgänger.)

    Charles Cowling
  9. Charles Cowling
    Suffolk Nemesis

    Of course the interesting thing here is that this technology could potentially allow Funeralcare to own 65% of the license for every Resomator that is sold worldwide.

    Not only could Funeralcare earn profit from selling every Resomator, they might also ask for a fee for each time the Resomator is used.

    If you think long term, and worldwide, that is a lot of money. It might also explain why it looks like Funeralcare are not so keen to buy or build Crematoria.

    This a staggeringly clever move by Funeralcare. Not only is there vertical integration within the funeral business, there might be some potential for horizontal integration with Co-operative Food.

    Soylent Green.

    Is it a coincidence that Soylent Green is the same colour as Fairways Green?

    Charles Cowling
  10. Charles Cowling

    It’s cheap. But don’t forget that it’s the running costs of a crem that put the prices up. The gas for a cremation costs just £16.54p.

    It’s cheap-ish. Resomation uses, I think, hot water under pressure, so there’s energy input there. In the US there is a cold-water process.

    It’s not so green as natural burial — but it’s a lot greener than burning.

    And the bones are a lovely white.

    Charles Cowling
  11. Charles Cowling
    Paul Hensby

    I had no idea they owned 65 per cent of Resomation. Clever and far sighted of them.
    Is it a very expensive method of disposal?
    Is it as ‘green’ as claimed?

    Charles Cowling

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