Usually, the phrase “freeze dry” is heard in conjunction with coffee processing. Whoever would have thought it could be associated with cremating human remains?

The new “promession technique” was invented by a Swedish biologist and presented at a recent Asian funeral expo. The ultimate green alternative, this freeze dry burial technique utilizes no pyres but is otherwise very similar to cremation.

Soon to launch both in Sweden and South Korea after a decade of trials and controversy, the promession technique may not be for everyone no matter how greenly intended. The corpse is super-frozen with liquid nitrogen and shaken until the phrase, ‘dust unto dust’ truly applies.

“The body falls apart when it’s really cold and that was something that I felt was appealing and clean,” said Susanne Wiigh-Masak, the pioneer behind this method.

Heavy metals like mercury are filtered out of the crystallized body particles and buried in biodegradable containers that nourish the soil under a plant or tree in a memorial park.

After six to eighteen months, the atomized particles from promession break down, while buried bodies may require decades to fully decompose.

The first “promatorium” is scheduled to open in Sweden next April, and it will process up to 1,500 bodies a year. South Korea is slated to follow suit and is currently in the process of constructing thirteen memorial parks to accommodate these types of burials on a large scale.

“This is going to be the future solution for Korea. Traditional burials as they are today may not be allowed in future, as most graveyards in the country are now running out of space… It’s really a good chance for the planet I think,” stated Wiigh-Masak.

Some sixty countries with dense urban centers are considering the green and space-saving promession method. Some of these include: Scotland, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

Is the promession method an answer for the sixty million people who die each year around the globe? It couldn’t be a greener idea without turning into another color, and it seems indeed something to think about heavily, but perhaps not with your morning coffee.

Those into freeze dry coffee may never feel the same way about it again.

What do YOU think about this?




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.