STILLWATER, Minn. -- When Stephen Page started planning his retirement a few years ago he knew it wasn't the only thing he needed to prepare for. He also needed to plan his funeral.
Page decided he would rather be cremated than buried.
"You put a body in the ground and there it sits for who knows how long. It could be thousands of years and it's just a waste of the space the ground," he said.
He met with Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services. Page said his family wasn't thrilled about the idea but he knew it was right for him, especially when he learned he could have a "green cremation."
Jason Bradshaw, chief operating officer and vice president, said their funeral home is the first in Minnesota, and only the second in the nation, to be licensed to perform green cremations.
Green cremation uses a combination of water and alkali, which is potassium hydroxide, to speed up the natural process of your body breaking down, according to Bradshaw.
"If you were buried at a cemetery it would take up to 25 years for hydrolysis to happen. This process it happens in two to three hours," he said.
Green cremation reduces carbon footprint by 75 percent and also eliminated mercury emissions from dental fillings. Green cremation costs about $2,300, the same price as fire cremation.
So far almost 30 people have signed up to go green, Bradshaw said.
That number could climb. Last year for the first time in Minnesota more people chose cremation over burial.
"There's been two groups of people that have been interested in this. One that really like it from the green stand point and then others that have come in that said I really like the simplicity of cremation but I've never liked the flame part," Bradshaw said.
Page says he never really liked the flame part either, and he's happy he has another option.
"I feel excited but I'm not really in a hurry to get there yet. I do feel like I've made the right choices and I'll be happy with it and my family will get there," Page said.
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