WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- “Natural organic reduction” or human composting can soon be an option when someone dies.
- A bill for this practice was passed by the state of Washington and is now waiting for Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.
- It will become legal on May 1, 2020, once signed, making Washington the first state to allow human composting — a technique that accelerates the body’s decomposition process, turning it into soil in just4 to 7 weeks.
Normally, people bury their dead or have them cremated. Now, you may have another option that can soon be legalized in the state of Washington: ‘natural organic reduction’ or otherwise known as human composting.
According to the Associated Press, on April 19, a bill regarding this new practice was passed by the state legislature which is now waiting for Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature. Once signed, it becomes legal on May 1, 2020, making Washington state the first ever to allow human composting.
Supporters of the bill say that this end-of-life technique which hastens the decomposition process takes 4 to 7 weeks to turn bodies into soil. Furthermore, the practice also produces a significantly reduced amount of carbon footprint than cremation or burial.
Katrina Spade, founder of Recompose, a company ready to help turn people into soil after they die, and also a supporter of the bill, tells Live Science that human composting is not a type of burial. Rather, it is a “new form of human disposition that can serve as an alternative to burial and cremation.”
She explained to Washington news station, King 5 News, that during cremation, fossil fuels are burned and emit carbon and mercury molecules into the atmosphere. As with conventional burials, there is a substantial amount of carbon footprint coming from the makers of caskets, grave liners as well as from maintaining cemeteries.
So these are typically the two options. However, with recomposition, according to Spade, about an eighth of the energy of cremation is used and also has a significantly lowered carbon emission which is partly due from the body’s carbon sequestration that occurs during the process.
The Associated Press reports that once the body is “composted”, the end product amounts to a cubic yard (0.76 cubic meters) of soil which like cremated remains, family can opt to keep the soil in urns, reuse it in their garden, or scatter it on public land, as long as they abide by the law.
The newly passed bill also includes the approval of “water cremation” or the use of alkaline hydrolysis, a process that has already been legalized in 19 other states in the U.S. The AP reports that in the process of reducing bodies into fragments, heat, pressure, water and chemicals like lye are used. Just like cremated ashes, these can also be kept in urns or elsewhere.
Source: Live Science