To those of you who like to begin the New Year thinking gloomy thoughts, here is an eco-gloomy issue/question to think about. Is it okay for a Crematorium to use the smoke from cremated bodies to save on their heating bill? What if in doing so they also help clean the environment?
Believe it or not, there is growing concern about the environmental hazards of carbon emissions, in particular mercury emissions, released into the air during cremation. "When a body is burned, mercury from such fillings vaporizes. Once released into the atmosphere, mercury returns to Earth in rain or snow, ending up in lakes and other bodies of water where it can lead to elevated levels of mercury in fish... Environmental Protection Agency regulations have been adopted to reduce those emissions" (Cremation a hazard to the living?). How are these environmental concerns to be handled without being morally insensitive to the loved ones of the deceased?
A Swedish town of Halmstad has come up with an innovative solution to the environmental hazards and concerns of cremations. The Halmstad Crematoriums facility director has decided it can recycle the smoke from cremations. The smoke would be reused to warm up the Crematorium's building. What sparked the idea? The idea came about when an environmental review showed that the Crematorium's chimney was releasing too much smoke into the air.
There is no mention of how the smoke would be filtered before it is used inside the building, but by reusing the smoke to heat up the building the Crematorium would be able to cut down on their heating costs. In addition, since it is required for Crematoriums to cool smoke before releasing into the air, reusing it to heat the building would also cut down on cooling costs.
In the future, the Crematorium hopes to heat up more then just their building...perhaps the neighboring homes as well. How people will react to the idea is still to be seen, but if in doing so helps clean the air and bring down heating cost, they may learn to accept the idea. What do you think?
Via CleanTechnia and Telegraph