I wouldn’t mind someday having my corpse disposed of by freezing, shattering, and dessicating it prior to composting, but I don’t know that it’s the best way.
The process is simple. Within a week and a half after death, the corpse is frozen to minus 18 degrees Celsius and then submerged in liquid nitrogen. This makes the body very brittle and vibration of a specific amplitude transforms it into an organic powder that is then introduced into a vacuum chamber where the water is evaporated away.
The now dry powder passes through a metal separator where any surgical spare parts and mercury (from old tooth fillings) are removed. The remains are now ready to be laid in a coffin made of corn starch. The organic powder, which is hygienic and odourless, does not decompose when kept dry. The burial takes place in a shallow grave in living soil that turns the coffin and its contents into compost in about 6-12 months’ time. In conjunction with the burial and in accordance with the wishes of the deceased or next of kin, a bush or tree can be planted above the coffin.
Unfortunately, the story is a little too credulous and not quite critical enough. It’s billed as a more eco-friendly method of body disposal than cremation, but I was wondering throughout about how the energy costs of generating and maintaining large amounts of liquid nitrogen, of large scale vibration of specific frequencies, and of pumping out all the water in the fragments would compare to burning. None of that is free, you know; that it’s all out of sight at a distant electrical power generation plant doesn’t mean it has no cost.
There’s also this weird squeamish tone about how one advantage is that you can bypass all that icky rotting business. What’s wrong with decay? The modern funeral business is all about pumping the body with toxic preservatives and burying it in a sealed concrete vault, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Wouldn’t the real eco-friendly way of death be to drop bodies where condors or sharks could eat them?
I think I’d rather my meat were used to feed the sharks, and especially the hagfish and deep sea bacteria. Fling my corpse out of a boat over a deep trench, let me drift down getting nibbled and shredded as I go, and let my bones rest artfully on the sea floor, feeding crustaceans and fish and all that wonderful oceanic diversity. That seems like the least harmful way to dispose of this mortal frame.