Alkaline hydrolysis ('water cremation') regulation in Scotland

A Scottish Government consultation on the regulation of alkaline hydrolysis (‘water cremation’) as a method of body disposal in Scotland.

Availability of alkaline hydrolysis in other countries

65. According to the Cremation Association of North America, there are active practitioners of alkaline hydrolysis in 15 states of the United States of America, and 5 provinces of Canada (where the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health published a report on alkaline hydrolysis in April 2023), while another 8 US states have legalised the process.

66. The Dutch Government commissioned the Health Council of the Netherlands to assess the admissibility of new techniques of body disposal, including alkaline hydrolysis. They found that that alkaline hydrolysis compares favourably to burial and cremation with respect to sustainability and complies in principle with their three tests for assessing new techniques of disposing of the deceased: safety, dignity and sustainability.

67. The review included both qualitative and quantitative market research and environmental comparisons with flame cremation and burial. However, the Council also noted that the technical specifications of alkaline hydrolysis would have to be further examined before it could potentially be authorised for public use.

68. We understand that alkaline hydrolysis is also available in different areas in Australia, Mexico and South Africa.

(Question 16)



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