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Las Vegas Funeral Home Pioneers Greener Chemical Cremation

Kraft-Sussman Funeral & Cremation Services
Kraft-Sussman Funeral & Cremation Services
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Las Vegas funeral director Laura Sussman and Aquamation tech Aaron Forgey stand with the chemical cremation equipment that's being put to use at Kraft-Sussman Funeral & Cremation Services.

Dead people, it is said, are beyond caring.

Apparently, that does not extend to concern about the planet.

Kraft-Sussman Funeral & Cremation Services, a small Las Vegas funeral home, is the first in Nevada and the 14th in the nation to offer chemical cremation, which is friendlier to the climate than incineration.

Flame cremation puts 540 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while what’s called Aquamation generates about a tenth of that.

Laura Sussman, Kraft-Sussman’s funeral director, said more than 80 percent of her clients are opting for the process, despite it being $300 more than traditional cremation. She said that popularity extends to other states where chemical cremation is available. 

“People are looking for alternative ways to protect the environment, and even in their last gifts to the world, this is an option,” Sussman told State of Nevada.

“It’s slowly taking place, we are the 14th firm in the country that’s going to be offering this. It’s not broad-based by any means yet, but I think it will be.”

Aquamation is a form of alkaline hydrolysis, where water, chemicals, heat and pressure reduce the body to its component calcium over several hours.

Laura Sussman, funeral director, Kraft-Sussman Funeral & Cremation Services; Jennifer Kandt, executive director, Nevada Funeral & Cemetery Services Board

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.