An Oxfordshire funeral firm is eyeing up a cleaner approach to cremations.
Memoria, based in Bicester, has been on a mission to seek out greener alternatives.
The firm’s first electric cremator – which is said to be the first in the UK on a green tariff – is located at the North Oxfordshire Crematorium and Memorial Park near Tackley.
Now, it has committed to two more electric cremators at its sites in Kent and Doncaster, bringing the total to three.
The plans include heating chapels from the energy produced by the cremation process.
Director Jamieson Hodgson says the move paves the way for the whole cremation industry to make significant environmental progress.
He said: “Since the beginning of time, mankind has chosen to either bury or cremate their loved ones. However, we need to change the cremation process to ensure we can meet our environmental obligations.
“By using heat from the cremation process to heat buildings and any excesses, it’s possible to make crematoria carbon neutral. That is something we should be aiming to achieve.
“Memoria has always been at the forefront of technology in this industry to ensure the environment is as protected by the cremation process as possible.
“We are committed to continuing to work on these technologies with cremator manufacturers so these improvements can continue to be made.”
The electric cremator is powered by renewable energy sources, which means that it produces 95 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions compared to a gas cremator.
The memorial park also offers natural burial options.
Mr Hodgson said: “Crematoria have improved their environmental credentials significantly over the past 10 years with the introduction of mercury abatement.
“But there is still a fairly major carbon footprint created by gas cremators. Electric cremators, in our eyes, present a very carbon neutral way of moving forward.
“When our North Oxfordshire facility opened it was the first new-age electric cremator in the UK and we are very proud to have been the first operator to bring this innovation to the market.”
Since introducing mercury-abatement filtration technology back in 2005, Memoria has been trying to find greener ways of cremation.
Mercury is often found in fillings of the deceased and can contribute to harmful emissions.
Mr Hodgson added: “For most people, the carbon footprint is the last thing on their mind when they say goodbye to a loved one.
“But we have found more people who are putting their own affairs in order before death are conscious of the environmental impact they may leave behind.
“It’s important to us that we can offer this service, as well as options for natural burials.”