Cool goodbye

Keira Mckay and Catherine Mckay with pooch Phoebe, who is thankfully still very much alive.

A NEW business in Yangebup is  offering an unusual and sustainable way for families to say goodbye to their pets. 

Blue Leaf Water Cremation uses water cremation, which is designed to replicate the natural effects of decomposition and doesn’t have the carbony emissions of a fiery farewell.

“We are one of the first fully accredited venues in WA,” business owner Catherine McKay said. 

The process takes 20 hours and the solution used is 90 per cent water and 5 per cent alkaline ingredients. 

“We’re not burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases … it’s more respectful,” Ms McKay said. 

The machinery was shipped from America and took nearly nine months to arrive.

Ms McKay said she bought most of her computers, furniture and shop furnishings from Facebook Marketplace, saying it would defeat the purpose of being an environmentally conscious business if they didn’t buy things second hand. 

“In Fremantle, people are more conscious of their environmental footprint”, she said. 

“Eventually, we all need to look out for our carbon paw print.”

University of Melbourne professor Michael Arnold says water cremation occurs naturally in the environment, with scientists in the 20th century learning how to speed it up.

“Water breaks down protein into its component parts,” he explained. 

“Pathogens, DNA and bacteria are all destroyed.”

While the method is very popular in the United States, for some it’s a bit squeamish.

“Part of the problem is the yuck factor, which is more aesthetic than chemical,” Prof Arnold said. 

Because it’s only recently appeared in Australia, Prof Arnold said anyone trying to take it mainstream would have to appeal to both funeral directors and families.

“You can make the environmental pitch but that in itself is not going to get you over the line,” he said.

City of Cockburn rangers have sent 10 deceased cats without microchips or identifications found in the area to Blue Leaf for cremation.  

Community Safety and Ranger Services head Michael Emery says the City aims to support local businesses wherever possible. 

“The City’s rangers have used Blue Leaf for its respectful and environmentally friendly cremation services,” Mr Emery said.

“Although the circumstances of this service are sad, we are glad that a local company has emerged to provide this unique service.”

by LUKE COMMINS

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