jeudi 17 mai 2012

Everything is recycled, even artificial limbs of granny. *

A Dutch company collects and sorts the remainder of the metal after incineration of the dead bodies. As astonishing as it is, this activity, in addition to its environmental friendliness, also has the merit of breaking the taboo of death in Western societies.
Here, employees are used to sort the pieces - artificial - of human beings.
         Chrome cobalt blue in the box, titanium in the other. The conveyor hums in his flowing stream of prostheses, hemispheres as big as tennis balls or long pieces resembling small rods. Hips, femurs, heads: in another life, all these prostheses had cost thousands of dollars, much as a small car.
But, once their owners do not use more, they are worth almost nothing.

Orthometals thus recovered tons of metal.

Ruud Verberne created his company, Orthometals, to recover what could still use these prostheses. After the death and burning of their owners, these pieces are collected and sorted by employees Verberne.
Orthometals thus recovered tons of metal from the crematoria. Once a year, prostheses are sent in Zwolle, the company headquarters, there to be sorted. The company recycles 200 to 250 tons of metal from Europe and twenty tons from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Once sorted, these pieces of metal valued again. A foundry specializing in the work of cobalt can indeed do anything with parts containing titanium.
After deduction of transportation costs, personnel, rent, equipment and investment, the remaining profits are donated to the crematoria in part, to support charitable activities. The company has nearly four million euros in turnover, but its margin. Of 100 euros in profits, Ruud Verberne in reverse between 60 and 75 euros for crematoriums.
Orthometals was among the first companies created in this sector and employs over 450 people.

At first I too thought it was morbid!

So should we recycle artificial hips grandmother? Should recover these remains metal to manufacture kitchen utensils, aircraft parts or turbines? Yes, Verberne says that we receive to Orthometals. "At first I too thought it was morbid," he says.
In 1987, he worked in an aluminum recycling plant when the surgeon who had cared for her daughter, Jan Gabriels, told him about the problem of orthopedic metals. It took ten years to be convinced and create the company with the surgeon. "I came to the conclusion that we could recycle prosthetics while respecting their former owners," suggests he.
By 1998, the company expands its activities in Belgium and is now present in 19 countries. The data retrieved by Orthometals paint a landscape of medical practices and socio-economic issues related to prosthetics. "We see that the level of health in Europe is high. There are many implants," said Verberne. There are however differences. "The crematoria poorer regions have less prostheses. We get fewer parts to Lille to Cannes or Saint Tropez".

Death, taboo, becomes the center of a debate.

Verberne speaks openly about his work. Companies need the confidence of individuals and crematoriums to work. The prostheses are indeed recycled after the agreement of members of the family of the deceased. Many agree with relief.
         "Parents often do not keep the prostheses and nails from the coffin in the funeral urn." Helbach for Alexander, head of Aeternitas, a consumer organization specializing in funeral, "recycling is accepted as families know what we do." The activity of companies like Orthometals is also indicative of how our societies deal with the subject of death and in this respect shows a certain evolution.
         Death, taboo, becomes the center of a debate where the question arises whether it is not better to recycle the remains of our dead rather than let any bury crematoria.
Why not search Verberne he not profit? He was often asked the question. "Many people say to me, but you're crazy, you will make lots of money like that." He has no plans, however no other way of doing things. "My success is to have convinced everyone that it was a good idea. It is very important to me. Everything can not be bought."
* Article by Benjamin Schultz, by "Der Spiegel" of April 27, 2012.

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