May 17, 2020

Respect for the Dead, Respect for the Environment

eco-friendly burial
eco death
the Wilderness Center
3 min
The nation's first nonprofit green cemetery
Click here to experience this article in our digital reader Facing a lack of funding during tough economic times, one non-profit nature center in Ohio...

Click here to experience this article in our digital reader


Facing a lack of funding during tough economic times, one non-profit nature center in Ohio has found an innovative approach to funding their mission – in the cemetery.

The Wilderness Center opened Foxfield Preserve Nature Preserve Cemetery in 2008. With a goal of embracing the bodies returned to the earth and decreasing the amount of natural resources used, Foxfield requires the use of a biodegradable casket or burial shroud. Embalming chemicals and concrete vaults are also prohibited. The land is being preserved as native forest and prairie for the public to enjoy via walking paths, and the proceeds of sales go to benefit The Wilderness Center’s education and conservation programs.

“We’ve entered a new phase as an institution. To continue our mission, we are venturing into social entrepreneurialism,” explains Wilderness Center Executive Director, and the driving force behind this new initiative, Gordon Maupin.

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While the idea of creating a cemetery to conserve land and fund nature education is an innovative one, Maupin insists there is nothing innovative about natural burial.

“This is certainly not a new idea. We’re really just embracing traditions that were quite common until the Civil War,” says Maupin. “This is the way humans have always buried their dead.”

While natural burial may not be a new idea, Maupin admits that Foxfield has dealt with many public misconceptions and myths. He shares that it can be difficult setting the record straight on a subject which can be so emotional.

“I frequently encounter people who ask if what we’re doing is even legal!” Maupin says with a chuckle. “Many people believe that funeral home practices and cemetery rules are a requirement. When we first meet with them, some don’t even know they have a choice. But we are slowly educating people and changing perceptions.”

According to Maupin, there are lots of myths circulating about natural burial. One initial fear that he heard was that disease would spread if a body wasn’t embalmed. This fear has been disproven, according to Maupin, with some simple biology. Once a host organism dies, any parasite living on it will also perish. Any lingering fear of disease spreading in underground water is also unfounded, as the microbes living in the soil can break down anything to its harmless, basic elements.

Another big myth is that animals will disturb the gravesites in nature preserve cemeteries. “No way,” says Maupin. “Animals aren’t going to disturb something buried that deep.”

While the idea may take some by surprise, many families have found this simple approach to funeral arrangements to be incredibly meaningful.

Ken Buzzelli of Brecksville, Ohio, interred his late wife at Foxfield. He considers himself an advocate for natural burial and for the Preserve. “Foxfield is peaceful, an oasis that encourages tranquil thoughts and fond memories. Every time I visit, I thank Laura for bringing me to such a wonderful place – I feel it is a gift from her each time I visit. And what a legacy to leave your loved ones!”

About Foxfield Preserve:

Foxfield Preserve is a nature preserve cemetery operated by The Wilderness Center. It is the first “green cemetery” operated by a non-profit conservation organization in the U.S. and the first of its kind in Ohio. The organization provides an economical, environmentally friendly alternative to modern burial as fewer resources are used in natural burial.




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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

Scott Birch
3 min
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States...

Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.

Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.

The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content. 

In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.

Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.

"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president. 

“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.

"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.

Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.

Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.

A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.

The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.

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