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Washington Becomes First US State To Legalize Human Composting As An Eco-Friendly Alternative

Washington Becomes First US State To Legalize Human Composting As An Eco-Friendly Alternative

This comes from Governor Jay Inslee who signed the bill on Tuesday to legalize human composting and it will go into effect starting May next year.

After death, most Americans opt for two different choices after death: one is burial and the other is cremation. However, this time, the state of Washington is offering people another alternative. There is now a new law that has been passed allowing composting as an alternative to burial or cremation of human remains. As reported by CNN.

This comes from Governor Jay Inslee who signed the bill on Tuesday to legalize human composting and it will go into effect starting May next year. This will make Washington the first state in the nation — and probably the first place in the world to allow human remains to become compost.



 

 

The bill describes the process as a "contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to the soil." The now-legal procedure speeds up the process of turning human remains into the soil, which is known as "human composting." 

"It's about time we apply some technology, allow some technology to be applied to this universal human experience ... because we think that people should have the freedom to determine for themselves how they'd like their body to be disposed of," said the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Jamie Pedersen. He added that the process is an environmentally friendly way of disposing of human remains. 

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So how does it work? Well, the process has been done by a human composting company Recompose and the CEO Katrina Spade, explains the process of turning a dead body into the soil. "(The) body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into the soil," she said.

So how much does it cost? 41-year-old Spade revealed that it costs about $5,000 for the process to take place. Her company will be able to turn bodies into compost and then later return it to the loved ones. The families of the deceased can even visit the facility and can decide what to do with that soil.

 



 

 

Some might even look to spread it on their garden or backyard and help grow a tree, just as people can spread cremated ashes. Although the $5000 cost is a bit expensive than your basic cremation, however, it is a lot lesser than an elaborate burial service in many cities in the US. "We proved recomposition was indeed safe and effective for humans as well," Spade said as reported by New York Times. 

Meanwhile, the director of DeathLab, Karla Rothstein, along with research architects, scientists, and theologians at Columbia University studied the burial-space problem in cities. She has also praised the new law and called it 'progressive'.

 



 

 

“I think it’s terrific to open up alternatives, so people have additional choices that are both honest and elegant. It’s encouraging that Washington State is leading a progressive acceptance of practices that are more commensurate with what people value,” Ms. Rothstein said.

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