You Can Now Compost Human Bodies in This U.S. State | NowThis
Composting human remains legalized in Washington state
Washington became the first American state to allow the transformation of dead bodies into fertilizer
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into law on Tuesday the legalization of composting the bodies of deceased people as an alternative to conventional burial or cremation. Washington became the first American state to legalize such an environmentally friendly procedure. The law will come into force next May.
According to the developers of the law, composting human remains is absolutely acceptable from a moral point of view, as it will save space and reduce environmental pollution, as well as become a source of new fertilizers. Proponents of the “natural organic transformation” idea say it is a more sustainable alternative to traditional burial and cremation. The new technology, they say, has clear advantages in today’s urban environment with a shortage of free land..
Thus, in Seattle, the largest city in the state, a moratorium on the construction of new cemeteries has already been declared, as, according to local authorities, this is an example of “inappropriate use of land.” Katrina Spade, founder of Seattle-based Recompose, told Reuters about this, which plans to provide paid services for the “organic transformation” of the dead..
Farmers have been composting horse and cattle carcasses for a long time, Spade says. According to her, the composting of human remains will be carried out using a similar technology. Spade has already tested this method: the corpse is placed in a special capsule and buried in the ground under the grass cover. Microbes in the body heat the capsule to a temperature of 65 degrees Celsius. Within a month, the body of the deceased naturally turns into 0.65 cubic meters of fertilizer, which can then be transferred to the relatives of the deceased or used, with their consent, for agricultural needs.
According to experts, the law passed in the state of Washington allows for the legal use of just one of the many innovative ways to consume human remains. John Troyer, director of a research center at the British University of Bath, which studies the impact of death on the culture of society, told Reuters about a range of methods for disposal of corpses. These technologies include alkaline hydrolysis, which dissolves the bodies of the deceased, and the rapidly gaining popularity of biodegradation, which breaks down bodies into simple substances by bacteria..