Along with the mounting concern over landfill sites rapidly running out of space comes a new worry that the same thing is happening to Britain's graveyards. Even though over 50% of the population choose to be cremated after death, approximately 300,000 people are buried each year. It is estimated that graveyards will run out of space by 2009.
Environmental ministers have been discussing ways of alleviating the problem. Initial plans to dig graves deeper and stack coffins on top of each other have been rejected as being too distressing for the families. In death a person could find himself lying forever atop someone he hated in life.
Scientists now believe that the only solution is to recycle dead bodies. They claim that hair could be used to make wigs, teeth could be used in implants (saving recipients the cost of expensive crowns), artificial joints such as hip replacements could be re-used (saving the NHS money) and even breast implants could be cleaned up and re-used. Bones could be turned into first class fertilizer and flesh used in dog food.
Obviously a lot of people will find the solution distressing but environmental groups welcome the idea. Apart from the obvious benefits of recycling, the many thousands of trees used in the manufacture of coffins each year will be saved. Funeral parlours will of course go out of business but many believe that the extortionate profits they've made out of the business of death over the years should tide them over until their own deaths.
One member of the public was delighted at the thought of being turned into dog food. "I can get eaten by a dog," he said, "get crapped onto the pavement and my boss can slip up in me."