View from the Porch

View from the Porch

Alkaline Hydrolysis: an alternative to cremation by fire

Lorraine Doiron returns with a suggestion to add to crematorium and green burial discussions

Dear Smithers:

To say that I am homesick is to put it in simple terms. I just really miss everything about you and continue to receive the Smithers Interior News, staying in contact with what is happening in the community.

Since I no longer live in Smithers, I hesitate to comment on what is happening in the town, but have been drawn to a particular item of interest and feel the need to speak up.

On November 11 on page A2 of the paper, an item written by Deb Meissner jumped out at me: “Crematorium proposed for Hwy 16 just west of Smithers.”

Then November 18 on page A10 another article by Deb Meissner: “Smithers asked to permit green burial sites in the Smithers cemetery.”v

Not sure how many of you are actually interested in “green burial.” Some of you may remember that I am a member of the Glenwood Women’s Institute and have been so happy to maintain my connection with them as a member-at-large.

Not sure how many of you have heard of Alkaline Hydrolysis, a process of the disposal of human remains by use of water, alkaline chemicals, and sometimes heat, which leaves behind 75 per cent less of a carbon footprint than the more traditional method of cremation and uses 1/8 of the energy as flame-based cremation.

More information at

On June 12, 2020, with members throughout B.C., the British Columbia Women’s Institute (BCWI) passed a resolution:

“Be it resolved that the British Columbia Women’s

Institute petition the Solicitor General of the Government of British Columbia to amend the Cemetery, Interment and Funeral Services Act and all regulations to include a definition of cremation and in that definition include the provision for Alkaline Hydrolysis to be an approved method of cremation within the Province of British Columbia.”

Reasons for this request: British Columbia Women’s Institute recognizes that even in death we can reduce our environmental footprint by reducing carbon emissions in the air by embracing new technologies to replace the practice of flame-based cremation of the deceased human body in particular by the process of Alkaline Hydrolysis.

So, with the discussions around cemeteries in the last two Smithers Interior Newspapers, here is something else to think about, to add to your discussions.

I am terrified of fire so cremation by fire is not something I choose.

I know I will be dead and I don’t know how to swim either, but somehow the Alkaline Hydrolysis feels comforting.

Thank you for reading this.

Sending wishes to all of you for a very healthy and happy Christmas and a Covid free New Year!

~Lorraine Doiron