The UK’s Pioneering Research on Alkaline Hydrolysis

When it comes to fashion, food, culture, and design, it seems like the UK is always one step ahead. But when we consider the future of death care, hold on a minute, Canada – we’re not too far behind! In fact, we’ve been quietly revolutionizing the industry with a little something called alkaline hydrolysis (Aquamation) for over a decade now.

While Georgina (our intrepid UK researcher) was busy putting together the first comprehensive study of AH in the UK, completed in early 2023, we here in Canada have been using this innovative disposition method since 2011 when Saskatchewan gave it the green light.


What is Alkaline Hydrolysis?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aquamation (don’t worry, you’re not alone), it’s essentially a flameless, water-based alternative to traditional cremation. It’s like a gentle, eco-friendly spa treatment for the dearly departed. Moreover, it’s been making waves (no pun intended) across Canada, with Quebec, Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and some Maritime provinces all getting in on the action.


Tillwell’s Role in Bringing AH to Manitoba

Here’s where it gets exciting – Tillwell, a forward-thinking company based right here in Manitoba, has just received environmental approvals to bring Aquamation to our neck of the woods. While we are already offering end-of-life care to pets and companion animals, we are still waiting with bated breath for our operations permit for human services from the Manitoba Government… Let me tell you, the anticipation is killing us (again, no pun intended).


The Significance of Georgina’s Research for Canada

So, what does Georgina’s groundbreaking research mean for us here in Canada? Well, even though we’ve been ahead of the curve in terms of Aquamation adoption, her thesis offers some fascinating insights into the shifting attitudes and preferences surrounding death care. It’s like a peek into the future, and trust me, it’s not all doom and gloom.

In fact, Georgina’s research highlights some pretty important trends that are just as relevant here in Canada as they are in the UK. These include the growing demand for eco-friendly options, the desire for more personalized and meaningful end-of-life experiences, and the need for greater transparency and innovation in the deathcare industry.

So, whether you’re a seasoned deathcare professional, a curious consumer, or just someone who wants to stay informed about the latest trends in the industry, stick around. We’re about to embark on a journey through the fascinating world of alkaline hydrolysis and what it means for the future of death care in Canada. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two about how we’re all connected in this great big game of life (and death).


Key Conclusions and Takeaways:

Shifting death styles

Funerary practices in the UK and around the world have evolved over the last three centuries, with cremation overtaking burial as the dominant disposition method. Aquamation is poised to be the next major shift, appealing particularly to those who currently choose cremation for both religious and non-religious reasons.


Environmental impact

There is growing awareness of the environmental impact of funerary practices. As a result, Aquamation offers a more sustainable alternative to both traditional burial and cremation, aligning with the increasing eco-consciousness of consumers.


Diverse worldviews

Religious beliefs are no longer the primary influence on funeral choices in the UK. Instead, personal preferences, cost, and environmental considerations are becoming more important factors. This trend is likely mirrored in Canada’s increasingly secular and multicultural society.


Economic and practical appeal

Aquamation is likely to be adopted in the UK as an economical and practical choice, given its similarity to cremation in terms of cost and process. Similarly, these factors may also drive adoption in the cost-conscious Canadian market.


Importance of education

Public awareness and understanding of Aquamation is crucial for its successful adoption. Therefore, the thesis emphasizes the role of the funeral industry, media, and popular culture in educating consumers about new disposition options.


Ritual opportunities

Aquamation opens up new possibilities for personalized funerary rituals and memorialization, such as the incorporation of water-based symbolism or the productive use of “necro-waste.” Consequently, these innovations could resonate with Canadians seeking meaningful and unique funeral experiences.


Comparisons to the Canadian Context:

Like the UK, Canada has seen a steady increase in cremation rates and a decline in traditional burial. As of 2020, cremation accounted for 73.1% of dispositions in Canada (CANA). Furthermore, this trend continues, with the cremation rate reaching >75.3% in 2023, according to CANA’s most recent projections.

Environmental sustainability is a growing concern for Canadians, with a recent survey showing that 84% believe climate change is a serious problem (Ipsos 2021). As a result, this suggests that eco-friendly deathcare options like AH could find a receptive audience.

Canada’s religious landscape is evolving, with a growing share of the population identifying as non-religious or belonging to diverse faith traditions (Statistics Canada 2021). Consequently, this mirrors the trend in the UK of religious beliefs having less influence on funeral choices.

The Canadian funeral industry is facing similar challenges as its UK counterpart, including rising costs, changing consumer preferences, and the need for greater transparency and innovation.



As alkaline hydrolysis makes its way into the Canadian deathcare landscape, insights from the groundbreaking UK thesis suggest that its growth potential is immense, and Tillwell is ready to lead the charge.

At Tillwell, we’re not just about providing a greener alternative to traditional cremation – we’re on a mission to revolutionize the way Canadians think about death care. By partnering with organizations like Tree Canada, we’re making eco-conscious choices accessible for memorial services. We believe that in times of grief, it’s comforting to know we can make sustainable choices that reflect our love for those we’ve lost and our shared natural world.

But we’re not stopping there. With the generous support of the Manitoba Metis Federation, we’re joining forces with Tree Canada and the City of Winnipeg to tackle urban deforestation and canopy loss. Tillwell is fostering sustainable communities for generations to come. As the first to receive environmental approvals for alkaline hydrolysis in Manitoba, we’re eagerly awaiting our operations permit from the CPO so we can start making a real difference.

So, whether you’re a tree-hugger looking to become one with nature or just someone who wants to leave a smaller carbon footprint, Tillwell is here to help you make a sustainable exit. With our commitment to environmental initiatives and our passion for creating positive change, we’re not just shaping the future of green deathcare – we’re building a brighter, more sustainable future for us all.