Saturday, 31 May, 2003
Recycling a body?
The article I mentioned yesterday brought up a point, mostly as a joke, but that I thought would be something to consider:
If a 175-pound man fell into one end [of the machine], he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as 123 pounds of sterilized water. While no one plans to put people into a thermal depolymerization machine...
Why not? It's certainly a more reasonable thing to do than burn the body or plant it in the ground taking up valuable real estate! Instead of paying for a cemetery plot, or a perfectly good pine box to be burned in, sell your body to the recycling center. You certainly won't need it after you're dead. I had thought that I wanted my body to be composted (although nobody does that), but this is a much safer and productive way to dispose of me when the time comes. Imagine, not a crematorium, but a body recycler. If you don't want to sell the materials, use the oil and gas to light a torch that will burn during my wake. Or, bottle the gas and let me cook the hamburgers.
Okay, some of that is tongue-in-cheek. Quite honestly, though, I'm not planning on being buried in the ground. I always thought I'd be cremated and my ashes scattered over some place special. But if I could be recycled? "Cool beans," as the young kids have been saying recently. And before ya'll start saying "ewwwww," you might want to think about what people who live in near-future closed environments like Moon colonies will do with bodies. Organics are damned tough to come by when you're living on a dead pile of rocks. You can bet they're not going to plant those bodies in the ground where they won't decompose. No sir, they're going to be recycled, and this would be one good way to do it.