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Let Brussels dissolve and compost bodies, says Vervoort

15:59 01/03/2018

Brussels minister-president Rudy Vervoort would like to see burial options in the region expanded, including being composted or having your body dissolved in chemicals.

Currently there are only two burial options in Belgium: a coffin or cremation. Brussels is working on legislation that would allow people to be buried in cardboard caskets, which are more environmentally friendly and affordable than traditional wooden caskets.

But Vervoort would like to go a step further and allow people to choose to have their bodies composted or dissolved in an alkaline substance. The latter is already being used in the US and Canada.

Composting, something being researched in other countries as well, would see bodies placed in a mass of straw, dry grass, sawdust and dead leaves. In about a year, the bodies would be completely decomposed, and the compost would be returned to the earth.

Dissolving involves a process called alkaline hydrolysis, which sees a body placed in an alkaline solution. After about four hours, only some bones remain. The solution can then even be recycled for other purposes.

In both cases, bones remain, but those can be ground into ash and given to loved ones if they so desire, said Vervoort.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw